Sara Fischer
Sara Fischer
Sara is a media reporter at Axios. She is the author of the weekly Axios Media Trends newsletter and covers breaking news and analysis about the industry.Source
Washington, DC
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Google cracks down on deceptive ads ahead of election

Google cracks down on deceptive ads ahead of election

Photo: NurPhoto / ContributorGoogle is updating its ads policies to prohibit domestic advertisers that use spammy tactics to conceal their identities and to ban international advertisers that use ads to promote illegally hacked or obtained political material — like stolen campaign emails. Why it matters: Google alludes to the crackdowns in its existing ads policy, but the company is stating them more explicitly in an effort to rein in political and election misinformation ahead of the election. Details: There are two updates being introduced and they apply to ads on both Google properties...

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Sara Fischer
Jul 31
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TikTok's new CEO says company will reveal how its algorithms work

TikTok's new CEO says company will reveal how its algorithms work

Illustration: Aïda Amer/AxiosIn his as CEO of TikTok, f says the company will be releasing that code that drives its content-moderation algorithms so that experts can observe how its policies are enforced in real time. He says TikTok will also reveal its data flows to regulators, and is calling on its rivals to do the same. Why it matters: It's an unprecedented move that could help defuse concerns from U.S. lawmakers that the app is a data-harvesting tool for the Chinese government. It would also place TikTok ahead of its peers in terms of transparency.Details: In the post, Mayer conceded...

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Sara Fischer
Jul 29
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Conservative TV networks backtrack after touting conspiracies

Conservative TV networks backtrack after touting conspiracies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/AxiosSeveral right-leaning TV networks have been forced to walk back or acknowledge reports they've aired touting conspiracy theories in the past few weeks. Why it matters: There's been a lot of focus over the past few years on misinformation spreading online via big platforms like YouTube and Facebook, yet some of the most damaging falsities have come from broadcast networks that reach millions of Americans daily. Sinclair Broadcast Group of local affiliates across the U.S. this weekend not to air a controversial interview conducted on its program "America This...

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Sara Fischer
Jul 27
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Sinclair tells local stations not to air controversial "plandemic" interview

Sinclair tells local stations not to air controversial "plandemic" interview

Photo: William Thomas Cain/Getty ImagesSinclair Broadcast Group asked its dozens of local affiliates across the U.S. this weekend not to air a controversial interview conducted on its program "America This Week," which touted conspiracy theories that NIAID director Anthony Fauci started the coronavirus.Why it matters: Sinclair has been caught up in controversies around journalism ethics before. Most notably, it asked journalists at affiliates to read about "fake news" in 2018. Catch up quick: The interview, conducted last week, features host by Eric Bolling, interviewing researcher and...

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Sara Fischer
Jul 25
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Coronavirus dooms fall TV season

Coronavirus dooms fall TV season

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/AxiosTV's infamous fall lineup of new shows and series is going to look a lot different this year, thanks to paused production during the coronavirus pandemic and the uncertain future of sports. Why it matters: With fewer dramas, scripted shows and sports, analysts expect more consumers to "cut the cord" or ditch expensive cable and satellite TV subscriptions. For live TV loyalists that chose to stick around, expect more news, animation, reality TV, live performances and documentaries.Driving the news: Netflix said Thursday that it doesn't foresee programming...

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Sara Fischer
Jul 21
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Report: Facebook considering political ad blackout ahead of election

Report: Facebook considering political ad blackout ahead of election

Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty ImagesFacebook is considering blocking candidates and causes from purchasing political ads in the U.S. ahead of the 2020 presidential election in November, Bloomberg . Why it matters: The tech giant has been facing intense scrutiny for allowing politicians and advocacy groups to micro-target political ads on its platform, and for not fact-checking the ads. It has repeatedly defended its political ad policies, citing free speech. Banning ads leading up to the election would be a major reversal.Facebook declined to comment.By the numbers:...

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Sara Fischer
Jul 10
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Reddit bans The_Donald forum as part of major hate speech purge

Reddit bans The_Donald forum as part of major hate speech purge

Reddit says it is banning its controversial subreddit channel r/The_Donald, one of the company's largest political communities and a longstanding hub of support for President Trump, along with 2,000 other subreddit groups and users that violate new content policies aimed at hate speech. Why it matters: Reddit becomes the latest social media platform, in the wake of George Floyd's death and the ensuing protests, to take action against Trump or his supporters for violating rules or misleading users. What they're saying: In a conversation with reporters, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman said that...

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Sara Fischer
Jun 29
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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle back Facebook boycott

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle back Facebook boycott

Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty ImagesPrince Harry and Meghan Markle have been privately advocating for the campaign, which includes a boycott of Facebook, according to multiple sources working closely with the couple.Why it matters: The boycott against Facebook has grown from an industry scuttle to a cultural battle over the way the tech giant moderates content, particularly around hate speech. Details: Over the past few weeks, the couple has encouraged CEOs around the world to stand in solidarity with a coalition of civil rights groups, like the NAACP, Color of Change and the...

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Sara Fischer
Jun 27
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As Snapchat demotes Trump account, social media struggles with world leaders

As Snapchat demotes Trump account, social media struggles with world leaders

Illustration: Aïda Amer/AxiosSocial media companies are finally beginning to take action on posts from world leaders that violate their policies, after years of letting them mostly say whatever they wanted unfiltered to millions of people. Why it matters: Government officials are among the users most likely to abuse the wide reach and minimal regulation of tech platforms. Mounting pressure to stop harmful content from spreading amid the coronavirus pandemic, racial protests and a looming U.S. election has spurred some companies to finally do something about it. Driving the news: Snapchat...

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Sara Fischer
Jun 4
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Exclusive: Washington Post makes major move into local news

Exclusive: Washington Post makes major move into local news

People entering the Washington Post building in D.C. in 2019. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty ImagesThe Washington Post has signed all 30 of McClatchy's local news outlets to its Zeus Performance product, a software that gives sites better speed, ad view-ability and performance, executives tell Axios. Why it matters: By adding more local news outlets, The Post can start to build a local news ecosystem within its tech stack. Details: The partnership, in which McClatchy pays The Post a fee to license its software, will deliver a better ad experience to McClatchy sites.The big picture: Many...

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Sara Fischer
Jun 2
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Coronavirus is being used to suppress press freedoms globally

Coronavirus is being used to suppress press freedoms globally

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/AxiosThe coronavirus is providing cover to autocrats, dictators, and even some democratically-elected leaders who were already looking for reasons to undermine the independent media. Driving the news: Recent examples show the press is being shut out by the government under the guise of stopping misinformation from spreading about the pandemic. In the U.S., President Trump has continued to belittle the press for its coverage of the virus at live press conferences and on Twitter. Between the lines: The president's actions, some fear, give credence to leaders...

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Sara Fischer
Mar 31
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The Atlantic lays off almost 20% of staff

The Atlantic lays off almost 20% of staff

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty ImagesThe Atlantic is laying off nearly 20% of staff, according to an internal note from David Bradley, the publication's chairman, that was obtained by Axios.Why it matters: It's the latest media company that's been been forced to take drastic measures to survive the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.The state of play: The 68 staff cuts are mostly attributable to the collapse of the company's events business, which was one of its strongest pillars for many years. Between the lines: The Atlantic's new majority ownership stake from Emerson...

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Sara Fischer
May 21
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The Economist Group lays off 90

The Economist Group lays off 90

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/AxiosThe Economist Group is laying off 90 roles from its staff of 1,300, sources tell Axios. Its life and culture print publication, , will move to a digital-only publication. Sources say that the company's editorial team hasn't been impacted. Why it matters: It's the latest media company that's been been forced to take drastic measures to survive the economic fallout of the coronavirus.Details: The areas of the business affected by the cuts include events, client solutions business, and the company's marketing communications agency TVC.What they're saying: "We...

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Sara Fischer
May 15
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GOP's small-dollar fundraising platform raises $60M in April

GOP's small-dollar fundraising platform raises $60M in April

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/AxiosRepublicans raised nearly $60 million on their new digital fundraising platform "WinRed" in April, sources tell Axios, its largest single-month fundraising haul ever. Why it matters: The GOP is on pace to bring in roughly $400 million from small-dollar donations via WinRed in its first year of operations. Republicans have for years trailed Democrats in soliciting small-dollar donations online prior to launching WinRed.Details: In April, WinRed brought in $59.755 million across more than 1.6 million small-dollar donations. The average donation amount was $37....

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Sara Fischer
May 15
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The "plandemic" conspiracy theory is the latest in a series of myths around the coronavirus

The "plandemic" conspiracy theory is the latest in a series of myths around the coronavirus

The coronavirus conspiracy news cycle has grown more powerful off of audiences that were already susceptible to misinformation about other health care myths, like anti-vaccination conspiracies. Driving the news: The latest conspiracy theory — that the virus is a "plandemic" engineered to increase vaccination rates — stems from a documentary-style video featuring a discredited medical researcher that has gone viral. Flashback: Mentions of “Plandemic” were fairly low in March and early April, and were really only picked up a handful of times in conversations that also referenced other...

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Sara Fischer
May 12
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New York Times reports record new subscriptions, warns of major ad losses

New York Times reports record new subscriptions, warns of major ad losses

The New York Times said during its earnings report on Wednesday that it saw more than a half-million new subscribers — roughly double the amount of net new subscriptions that it typically sees in any given quarter.Why it matters: Despite the fact that more , news companies like The Times are struggling to bring in ad revenue during the coronavirus pandemic. What they're saying: “The Times’s business model, with its growing focus on digital subscription growth and diminishing reliance on advertising, is very well positioned to ride out this storm and thrive in a post-pandemic world," CEO...

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Sara Fischer
May 6
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Activist investor Elliott Management funds patent lawsuit against Quibi's flagship technology

Activist investor Elliott Management funds patent lawsuit against Quibi's flagship technology

Photo: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images Elliott Management, one of the most feared , is financing a patent lawsuit on behalf of a small interactive video company against the splashy new mobile streaming company Quibi, a person familiar with the lawsuit tells Axios.Why it matters: Elliott Management's involvement escalates the months-long battle over who owns the video technology that powers Quibi's entire business. Quibi in April, and has struggled to stick to its amid the coronavirus pandemic. Details: The lawsuit alleges that Quibi's flagship technology, which...

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Sara Fischer
May 4
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Coronavirus sends local news into crisis

Coronavirus sends local news into crisis

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/AxiosDozens of local newsrooms began laying people off this week out of fear that the economic hit of the coronavirus could severely impact their ad revenue.Why it matters: Local news was already facing in the United States. The coronavirus and a pending recession could push the industry into near collapse at a time when people need access to local news and information more than ever before. Driving the news: Despite the fact that local outlets are experiencing higher levels of traffic and viewership in years, many have wasted no time trying to get ahead of what...

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Sara Fischer
Mar 21
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Most-Shared Links During Debate Were Pro-Trump Tweets Pushed by Bots

Most-Shared Links During Debate Were Pro-Trump Tweets Pushed by Bots

More than 1,000 accounts across several different social media platforms with suspicious, bot-like characteristics helped push quote tweets, a tweet that is retweeted but additional text is added, from Donald Trump campaign accounts during the third primary debate, according to an analysis provided to Axios by social media intelligence company Storyful. Those tweets accounted for the top 3 most-shared links across several social media platforms, including Facebook, Reddit, etc., during the debate. Why it matters: Despite attempts by social media companies to weed out malicious behavior...

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Sara Fischer
Sep 14
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New Google Rules Aim to Boost Original Reporting in Search Results

New Google Rules Aim to Boost Original Reporting in Search Results

Google said Thursday that it has recently adjusted its algorithms and the guidelines used by the people that rate its search results to elevate original reporting. Why it matters: The moves aim to provide an incentive for news organizations to focus on fresh reporting as opposed to quick aggregation of other news reports. Details: Google has rolled out 2 updates over the past few months. The company has adjusted its algorithms to ensure that original reporting stays near the top of search results longer. It has updated the guidelines that people use to evaluate search ratings to help...

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Sara Fischer
Sep 12
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Andrew Yang Gets Media Cold Shoulder

Andrew Yang Gets Media Cold Shoulder

Despite polling in the top 6 of the Democratic primary and getting plenty of online attention, businessman Andrew Yang is being treated by the media like a bottom-tier candidate. Why it matters: The discrepancy between demonstrated voter support and the level of media coverage — both on cable and in the online world — shows that the press is in unfamiliar territory in covering a candidate from outside the political world who keeps a low profile. Driving the news: Last week, Yang supporters complained of a #YangMediaBlackout after CNN left their candidate off on-screen polling graphics of...

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Neal Rothschild
Sep 3
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