Hillicon Valley: Facebook weighs crackdown on anti-vaccine content | Lyft challenges Trump fuel standards rollback | Illinois tries to woo Amazon | New round of China trade talks next week

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Welcome! Follow the cyber team, Olivia Beavers (@olivia_beavers) and Jacqueline Thomsen (@jacq_thomsen), and the tech team, Harper Neidig (@hneidig) and Emily Birnbaum (@birnbaum_e).

 

FACEBOOK FEELS THE HEAT ON ANTI-VAX POSTS: Facebook says it will look into removing posts promoting conspiracy theories about vaccines following complaints from Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffFive takeaways from Barr's new powers in 'spying' probe Trump declassification move unnerves Democrats Trump appeals order siding with House Democrats bank subpoenas MORE (D-Calif.).

The company told Bloomberg News on Friday that it is "exploring additional measures to best combat the problem" of fake news and conspiracy theories being promoted on its site, which include numerous groups and message boards dedicated to spreading theories concerning a nonexistent link between vaccines and autism.

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Possible steps the company could take include "reducing or removing this type of content from recommendations, including Groups You Should Join, and demoting it in search results, while also ensuring that higher quality and more authoritative information is available," the company told Bloomberg.

Facebook's statement followed a letter to the company from Schiff, who argued that Facebook's platform was contributing to global health risks caused by speculation surrounding vaccines.

"There is strong evidence to suggest that at least part of the source of this trend is the degree to which medically inaccurate information about vaccines surface on the websites where many Americans get their information," Schiff's letter reads, according to Bloomberg.

"The algorithms which power these services are not designed to distinguish quality information from misinformation or misleading information, and the consequences of that are particularly troubling for public health issues," he continued. Read more here.

 

LYFT JUMPS INTO EMISSIONS FIGHT: Lyft is backing a legal challenge against a key part of the Trump administration's plan to weaken fuel emissions standards for the auto industry.

The ride-hailing company filed a brief in federal appeals court Thursday in support of a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for concluding that standards set during the Obama administration for the years 2021 through 2026 should be weakened.

"Lyft relies on EPA's greenhouse gas standards both to reduce fuel costs for drivers and to help make its rides carbon-neutral," the company wrote in its brief. "Drivers that use Lyft need fuel-efficient cars to make the service more economic, and both Lyft and its riders count on that fuel efficiency to reduce costs and protect the environment."

Lyft announced last year that it was investing in offsetting the emissions of its worldwide fleet of cars in order to become carbon neutral.

It's joining a coalition of green groups and Democratic states led by California in challenging the initial step of the Trump administration's weakening of the Obama-era standards. The Trump EPA has not yet finalized its new standards.

Opponents argued that the agency violated procedural requirements in making the April determination. More on Lyft's case here.

 

SHOOT YOUR SHOT: Two top Illinois Democrats urged Amazon on Thursday to reconsider Chicago for possible expansion after the company scrapped plans for a new headquarters in New York City.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel explained in a one-page letter that Chicago has the workforce, transportation hubs and universities necessary to support Amazon should it decide to add operations in the Windy City.

"You should take another look at Chicago," the letter said. "We will be happy to bring you back."

The city was previously a finalist for Amazon's HQ2, though the company announced last month it would split its new headquarters between New York City and Northern Virginia.

The Tribune reported that Amazon already employs more than 12,000 people in Illinois, including a few hundred based in Chicago. More on that here.

 

MORE TRADE TALKS TO COME: U.S. trade officials met with their Chinese counterparts and other top officials in Beijing on Friday, where the two sides worked to resolve a trade dispute that has engulfed the two countries for months.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Artist designs stamp to put Harriet Tubman's face over Jackson's on bills On The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers MORE and U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerChinese, US negotiators fine-tuning details of trade agreement: report The Trump economy keeps roaring ahead Trump says no discussion of extending deadline in Chinese trade talks MORE met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday after a week of senior-level meetings in Beijing. Further discussions are planned for Washington D.C. next week.

Representatives from the U.S. and China have been negotiating since the beginning of the year in an attempt to resolve a costly trade war that has so far led to back-and-forth tariff action from both governments.

Reuters reports that Xi touted the talks' progress on Chinese state television Friday, while expressing his hope that negotiators could continue to work towards a "mutually beneficial" outcome next week in Washington. Our update here.

 

A LIGHTER CLICK: Romance isn't dead.

 

AN OP-ED TO CHEW ON: Internet creativity is good for American jobs and the economy.

 

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB:

Amazon isn't interested in making the world a better place. (The New York Times) 

Here's how one of Facebook's biggest anti-vax communities built its massive network.  (Buzzfeed)

How Amazon blew its chance in New York. (CNN)

Google's Waymo risks repeating Silicon Valley's most famous blunder. (Ars Technica)

The Wired guide to your personal data and who is using it. (Wired)