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9:45 PM ET, December 17, 2020


 Top News: 
Edmund Lee / New York Times:
Axios buys Charlotte Agenda, a North Carolina-based digital startup with a staff of 11, as part of a push into local news; sources say the deal was close to $5M  —  The site focuses on service journalism for North Carolina's largest city.  Now it has been scooped up in a deal valued …
Twitter says it will start its new verification policy on January 21 and is developing profile labels to designate bots and memorial accounts  —  A couple of weeks ago, we announced that we're planning to bring back our public verification program in 2021, shared a draft of our new policy …
Jack Morse / Mashable:
Twitter says it will stop prompting users to Quote Tweet, restoring the standard RT functionality, and says QT use increased but overall sharing dropped by 20%
Ben Collins / Nieman Lab:
Lots of Americans slipped into conspiracy thinking in the pandemic; we'll need news outlets and others to explain how fantasy took hold and how we can dig out  —  “We're going to have to learn to create a vocabulary to talk about how their friends fell down the wrong YouTube hole and came out speaking another language.”
Kevin Roose / New York Times:
Facebook rolls back temporary post-election change that lifted news from authoritative outlets over hyperpartisan sources  —  Facebook confirmed that it has in the past few days rolled back a change that lifted news from authoritative outlets over hyperpartisan sources after November's election …
Texas AG says the state and nine others have filed a lawsuit against Google, claiming Google illegally hurt competition in the ad tech market  —  Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Wednesday that he's leading a lawsuit against Google, accusing the search giant of taking illegal actions …
Reza Chowdhury / AlleyWatch:
Comcast's FreeWheel, a TV advertising platform, buys Beeswax, a programmatic ad-tech platform founded in 2014; terms of the transaction were not disclosed  —  Beeswax, the programmatic ad-tech platform that offers “bidder-as-a-service”, has been acquired by FreeWheel, the digital TV advertising platform.
Sara Fischer / Axios:
Vice food vertical Munchies is launching a channel on OnlyFans, the first verified media publisher to do so, to post exclusive weekly videos for $4.99/month  —  Vice's food vertical, Munchies, is launching a verified channel on the breakout creator platform OnlyFans, a subscription site …
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
Walmart partners with TikTok to test live-streamed video shopping, during which users will be able to shop Walmart fashion without leaving the app  —  Walmart and TikTok announced this morning they will be partnering on the first pilot test of a new shoppable product experience on TikTok's social video app.
William Turvill / Press Gazette:
The Guardian says it has 352K subscriptions to app and tablet editions, up 60% YoY, 548K recurring contributors, up 33% YoY; print subs are up 11% YoY to 119K  —  The Guardian has more than one million paying subscribers and regular contributors following a surge of interest and support over the past year …
Sarah Perez / TechCrunch:
A startup called Gawq has launched a news app that organizes 150+ news sources; the app helps users compare sources, check facts, and even rate stories  —  A new startup called Gawq wants to tackle the problem of fake news and the “echo chamber” problem created by social media …
Discussion: @petezin
Sahil Patel / Wall Street Journal:
Jay Peters / The Verge:
Spotify is now available on the Epic Games Store, signaling Epic's ambitions to make its game-focused store into a general app store  —  Epic is in prolonged battles with Apple and Google over their app store business models  —  Spotify is now available on the Epic Games Store …
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 More News: 
Martha Carr / New Orleans Times-Picayune:
Times-Picayune and New Orleans Advocate launch statewide investigative unit in a three-year, $1.5M initiative supported by donations to a local community fund
William Turvill / Press Gazette:
A list of the 24 English language news sites with 100K+ online subscribers, featuring NYT in the lead by a wide margin, WaPo, WSJ, Gannett, FT, the Athletic
Richard Waters / Financial Times:
Washington Post becomes the first major publisher to sign up for Trade Desk's single ID system as advertisers search for a successor to cookies
The Information will officially launch an Opinion section in January 2021; EIC Jessica Lessin says it will feature the work of industry experts
 Earlier Picks: 
Hollywood Reporter:
Inside Warner Bros.' plan to debut movies on HBO Max, as CEO Ann Sarnoff says partners were not told before because of fears the news would leak
Kayleigh Barber / Digiday:
Pubs like BI and WaPo are partnering with non-publisher brands in sectors like health to attract new subs; WSJ now has 40+ bundling partnerships in 25 countries
Jacob Kastrenakes / The Verge:
Substack launches Substack Reader, an RSS reader for tracking newsletter subscriptions and other feeds, in beta
Facebook attacks Apple in full-page newspaper ads, claiming upcoming iOS 14 changes that limit data gathering and targeted ads are bad for small businesses
Ryan Mac / BuzzFeed News:
At an end-of-year, company-wide meeting, Facebook said it is working on TLDR, an AI tool that would summarize longform articles in bullet points