25 Best CBD Gummies on the Market

If you find yourself wanting to try CBD, but don’t where to start, one of the easiest ways to introduce this powerful phytonutrient into your wellness routine is with, well … candy! Vaping has been a popular choice for many CBD consumers, but with the scary health implications you’ve been reading about in the news (or maybe even experiencing firsthand), you’ll want something safer. 

And while the best CBD oil and tinctures are an excellent way of delivering this plant-based medicinal supplement, it might not be as appealing to first-time users as, say, a sour gummy worm. 

Keep in mind, you may feel lighter or delayed effects when you opt for an edible form of CBD rather than a sublingual (under-the-tongue) delivery. This is because medicine taken sublingually is able to get to the bloodstream more directly. In the digestive process (such as when you eat a gummy), things tend to move a little more slowly. So, if you don’t feel relief at first, hang on for a bit and let your digestive tract do its thing. Hot tip: this can be a great tactic if you have issues with night waking or staying asleep. Take a CBD gummy before bed and let the slow-releasing effects work for you overnight.

Regardless of what you’re taking CBD gummies for, you’re going to have tons of choices at your fingertips — but which should you choose? Here are 25 of the best CBD gummies you can find in the U.S., meeting the highest standards of production, transparency, safety testing and, of course, flavor. If you’re going to turn your daily “vitamin” into a treat, it has to taste good! And whether you’re into tropical frogs, sour worms, peach rings or gourmet gumdrops, there’s something out there for every CBD fan (especially those with a sweet tooth).

1. Verma Farms Maui Melon Gummy Rings

A jar of Verma Farms Maui Melon Gummy Rings

Milligrams: 21 per gummy

Gummies per package: 24

Price: $45

Ready for a bite of an island vacation? We’re heading to the Pacific island of Maui for some tasty treats and relaxation. If sour watermelon is your thing, you’re going to want to drop everything and get yourself some Verma Farms Maui Melon CBD gummies. Coated in sweet-and-sour sugar crystals and exploding with tangy watermelon flavor, these small-but-mighty rings pack more than 20 milligrams of CBD and are just over 10 calories each. 

Not a watermelon person? Try their Peachy Pau Hana (apparently it tastes like a Maui peach smoothie), Blueberry Wave, Beary Beach, Wahoo Worm, Hawaiian Rainbow, Tropical Cherry, Island Apple or Sugar-Free gummies — or get one of their bundles and try multiple flavors. U.S.-grown hemp (from Maui) is the source of their GMO-free, pesticide-free CBD.

2. Penguin CBD Gummies Sour Worms

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A bottle of Penguin CBD Gummies Sour Worms

Milligrams: 10 per gummy

Gummies per package: 30

If you’re looking for a nostalgic throwback to your favorite childhood movie theater treat (or, if we’re being realistic, current favorite movie theater treat), try Penguin CBD’s sour gummies. Of course, these aren’t the same sugar-stuffed chewy candies you grew up on; that said, they definitely taste like those chewy candies. While “treats” and “health” are sometimes mutually exclusive, they’re brought together in a safe, health-focused gummy thanks to 10 milligrams of CBD isolate. Why isolate? Separating the compound from the rest of the cannabis plant ensures there is zero THC and allows your gummy to taste like … well, a sour gummy worm. By using the isolate ingredient, the candy doesn’t have any kind of herbal flavor, just sweet and sour sugar, as the Lord intended. 

You can also feel safe about your candy choice thanks to the Oregon-grown hemp from a farm that uses no chemical fertilizers and no pesticides. Why is this so important? Because hemp is a bioaccumulator and can suck up all the chemicals from the soil it’s planted in. By keeping the soil clean and free from harmful solutions and toxins, you ensure that nothing but clean, hemp-based medicine is getting into your food, and thus your body.

3. Not Pot Vegan CBD Gummies

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A bottle of Not Pot

Milligrams: 10 per gummy

Gummies per package: 30

Price: $40

With five flavors to choose from — pineapple, blue raspberry, watermelon, green apple and grape — Not Pot’s CBD experience is customizable to your tastes and preferences. These 10 milligram chewy rounds are vegan (no gelatin!) and use CBD isolate so you won’t get any additional cannabinoids, including THC. 

They’re made in the USA with hemp sourced from Oregon, and they’re third-party lab tested, so they’re as clean and safe as they are fruity, colorful and fun. Profits from Not Pot sales help pay for someone’s bail every month through the Not Pot Bail Fund, a project that helps to reverse the cannabis-centered damage the criminal justice system has inflicted on marginalized communities. 

4. Charlotte’s Web

4 charlotte web

A jar of Charlotte’s Web

Milligrams: 10 per gummy

Gummies per package: 60 (180 total in the three-pack)

Price: $132

One of the most storied brands in the CBD space, Charlotte’s Web is a business with products you can trust, and that includes their CBD gummy candy. The Stanley brothers founded the company (which would soon become Charlotte’s Web) in 2011 with their Colorado-grown hemp, initially focusing their efforts on saving Charlotte Figi, a five-year-old girl who had 300 grand mal seizures a week. 

Today, the brand offers three types of gummies that come in a three-pack with one of each of the following: Recovery (ginger flavor), Calm (lemon-lime flavor) and Sleep (raspberry flavor). Each blend uses unique botanicals aimed at a specific health goal. For Recovery, ginger and turmeric work with CBD to reduce inflammation. The Calm blend uses L-theanine and lemon balm, two compounds known to help with stress relief and relaxation. 

Finally, the Sleep gummy includes melatonin, which is a sleep supplement that our body naturally makes. Charlotte’s Web harnesses not only the power of the hemp plants, but other complementary plants that support CBD’s seemingly magical powers to help heal and relax the body.

5. Lord Jones

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A box of Lord Jones

Milligrams: 20 per gummy

Gummies per package: 9

Price: $45

The experience of eating a Lord Jones gummy is akin to taking a stroll down the Champs-Élysées. For starters, the box these gumdrops come in looks like an orange Hermès box — the epitome of luxury. The sophisticated sweet has a pâte de fruit texture, and the flavor is truly artisanal. Don’t let the decadence fool you, though: at 20 milligrams per morsel, these treats pack a potent punch. 

They’re said to be “made by hand in small batches,” which totally makes sense; however, these gumdrops are not made from CBD isolate, but broad-spectrum CBD, sourced from U.S.-grown hemp. The fact that the CBD is broad-spectrum (meaning there are more plant compounds than just the CBD isolate) would typically leave you with a treat that tastes earthy and herbal, but this is not the case with Lord Jones, as they’ve fine-tuned the recipe to simply taste like an exquisite fruit dessert straight out of Paris.

6. Joy Organics Premium CBD Gummies

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A jar of Joy Organics Premium CBD gummies

Milligrams: 10 per gummy

Gummies per package: 30

Price: $40

Is there anything better than a strawberry lemonade on a summer day? Perhaps a strawberry lemonade CBD gummy. Joy Organics has crafted a delectable soft chew that fans have described as “not hempy,” and this is some of the highest-quality stuff you can find. 

Board members of the US Hemp Round Table, the Joy brand was founded by the Joy Smith. The Colorado-cultivated hemp the brand uses is meticulously processed in a GMP-compliant facility using CO2 extraction. This is so they can conserve the phytocannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids while ensuring no THC makes it into the mix; they say “even the most minute traces of THC” are removed. It is then third-party lab tested before making it into your BPA-free container. As if that weren’t enough, every month the company chooses a nonprofit or charitable organization to donate a portion of all revenue to. 

7. Sunday Scaries

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A bottle of Sunday Scaries

Milligrams: 10 per gummy

Gummies per package: 20

Price: $39-44

San Diego brand Sunday Scaries wants to make your life “a little more chill.” With both classic (a sweet bear-shaped gummy) and vegan (a sour gumdrop shape) versions of their popular CBD product, the company has created a new take on gummy vitamins. Vitamins D3 and B12 are used in the Sunday Scaries supplement, two micronutrients that aim to fortify your immune system and support healthy nervous system function. 

This could even replace your old daily vitamin. At 10 milligrams per bite, they recommend two to three pieces per serving each time you’re feeling on edge — so you could run through your bottle of 20 quite quickly during tax season. Want to mix up your CBD delivery? They’ve got “unicorn jerky” sour strips as well, and a dollar of each unicorn jerky sale helps fund The Trevor Project.

Though Sunday Scaries is headquartered in sunny San Diego, they source their hemp in Colorado, and ensure that all raw materials going into these candies are processed in a lab that is GMP-certified (this means “good manufacturing practices”) and kosher-certified, ISO 9001 audited (a way of regulating quality), licensed by Farm Products Dealer, and licensed to operate by the CDPHE (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment). 

8. Kanibi Organi Gummies

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A bottle of Kanibi Organi Gummies

Milligrams: 10 per gummy

Gummies per package: 30

Price: $44

Ten calories, 10 milligrams, lots of flavor. The Organi Gummies from Kanibi are a fruity mix of sugar-coated, stress-relieving treats made with “completely organic ingredients.” This is part of their commitment to a natural and safe product; they refuse to use fake dyes, artificial sweeteners or chemicals in their edible products. 

Instead of using CBD isolate, Kanibi uses a high-quality CBD distillate in their recipe (domestically sourced hemp from Kentucky) to harness the other supporting terpenes and plant compounds that may potentially enhance therapeutic effects of hemp. Kanibi is consistently a fan favorite when it comes to flavor, and they provide transparency with their testing reports on their website. 

9. CBDFX CBD Gummies With Melatonin

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A bottle of CBDFX CBD Gummies With Melatonin

Milligrams: 5 per gummy

Gummies per package: 60

Price: $50

Ready to hit the hay? If you’re in need of a nod-off nudge, you’ll be counting sheep in no time thanks to the naturopathic combo of CBD and melatonin. These two natural powerhouses of relaxation will help your body slip into a sweet slumber, and they might work better together than they would apart. CBDFX makes a number of gummies, but these juicy lemon bites are some of the best. 

The vegan, non-GMO gummies contain zero artificial sweeteners or corn syrup, and have five milligrams of CBD and five milligrams of melatonin per unit (so one before bedtime will probably suffice). They’re tested in a lab in California to ensure they’re safe and effective.

10. Neurogan CBD Gummy Bears

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A bottle of Neurogan CBD Gummy Bears

Milligrams: 40 per gummy

Gummies per package: 25

Price: $60

While many brands opt for the safety of U.S.-grown hemp, you’ll definitely want to check out the Scandinavian-sourced hemp products from Neurogan. Though the company is headquartered in San Diego, their farm is in Denmark, where hemp grows in the gorgeous Nordic countryside. Neurogan makes a number of products, but the sour apple gummy bears are not to be missed. 

Go for their high-dose 40 milligram bears; you’ll get 25 potent chewy candies, created with fine Danish hemp that’s been crafted in a GMP-certified facility and third-party tested in a lab in the U.S. These gummies use full-spectrum hemp, meaning you’ll get more of the plant’s phytonutrients and terpenes, but the lab test will ensure you’re not getting any THC.

11. Infinite CBD Asteroids

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A bag of Infinite CBD Asteroids

Milligrams: 25 per gummy

Gummies per package: 20

Price: $36

The Asteroids from Infinite CBD are seriously effective. Using only natural fruit flavors and pectin, a plant-based alternative to gelatin, they offer 25 milligrams of CBD in every star-shaped chew. 

Though they come standard in an array of fruit flavors (and a rainbow of colors), they have apple-pie flavor seasonally, which straight up tastes like a bite of apple pie in gummy form (it’s beyond delicious). Like many of the top CBD gummy brands, you can find Infinite CBD’s certificate of analysis (COA) from a third-party independent lab in Colorado, posted on their website. 

12. CBDistillery Vegan Gummy Combo Pack

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A bottle of CBDistillery Vegan Gummy Combo Pack

Milligrams: 30 per gummy

Gummies per package: 50

Price: $90

CBDistillery makes excellent CBD products across the board, and that includes their daytime and nighttime gummy supplements. The brand touts impressive labels for dietary restrictions, including vegan, gluten-free, allergen-free and kosher. You’ll crave the three fruity flavors — raspberry, raspberry lemon, and strawberry — while the 30 milligrams of CBD (with zero THC) make them a healthy daily supplement. 

The nighttime version carries 1.5 milligrams of melatonin per gummy, so you can melt into dreamland the second your head hits the pillow. CBDistillery’s set of two jars comes with a total of 50 gummies (25 of each kind) so you can get yourself nearly a month’s worth of your daily dose. With ISO 9001 certification, natural farming practices, U.S.-sourced hemp and third-party lab testing, you can be sure you’re buying from a safe and transparent CBD brand.

13. FAB CBD Chews

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A jar of FAB CBD Chews

Milligrams: 25 per gummy

Gummies per package: 30

Price: $59

Fabulous! The THC-free CBD gummies from FAB are packed with non-GMO, all-natural vegan ingredients. Using only seven (super clean) ingredients, including “organic concentrated apple, organic carrot, [and] organic black currant” for the coloring (yes, they use real food to color their gummies), these are some of the purest sweets you can find. Even the cane sugar is organic! 

This is true to their green Colorado roots (which is where they source the hemp). And while they’re working on the science and innovation behind cannabis medicine, they’re also doing their part to give back via partnerships and donations to organizations like Make-A-Wish. So, while your body and brain feel good from the CBD, your heart can feel good too, knowing that your purchase is going toward something great.

14. Seabedee CBD Infused Peach Rings

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A bag of Seabedee CBD Infused Peach Rings

Milligrams: 10 per gummy

Gummies per package: 10

Price: $15

Can you remember the last time you had a peach ring? Summertime in a bite, right? These sweet, soft and fruity gummies are made in San Diego, and contain zero THC. And because they’re so flavorful (thanks to natural peach flavor) you won’t taste the medicinal part of your gummy supplement: the CBD. They’re 10 calories apiece, with under two grams of sugar per ring. 

Seabedee prides itself on transparency, sharing an easy-to-access certificate of analysis from a third-party lab on their site for all their products. The CBD is also extracted with CO2, meaning solvents weren’t used (lessening the chances that the CBD is contaminated). What’s more, this company donates 3 percent of all sales to the American Cancer Society.

15. CBDMD Gummies

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A bottle CBDMD Gummies

Milligrams: 50 per gummy

Gummies per package: 30

Price: $100

These soft and chewy cubes come in an array of tropical flavors (“tropical mix”), and the U.S.-sourced CBD is third-party, ISO-certified lab tested to ensure that your sweet treat is both safe and effective. While these gummies come in different dosage levels, we’d point you toward the “more bang for your buck” option with the 50 milligram cubes if you’re have more serious needs.

The higher dose of CBD may be exactly what you need to relax your body and brain. Like several of the top CBD gummies, this brand provides THC-free doses of cannabidiol, with organic ingredients used for its gummy candy delivery. Another great thing about CBDMD is that they frequently update their site with the certificate of analysis for the current batch they’re selling (you’ll want to have the COA by batch number so you can match the lab test to the exact product you’re consuming). 

16. Winged Relaxation CBD Gummies

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A box of Winged Relaxation CBD Gummies

Milligrams: 10 per gummy

Gummies per package: 21

Price: $35

What makes Winged so different is that they’ve been specifically formulated for women. Winged has reported that (1) women experience anxiety, depression and PTSD at twice the rate of men, and (2) women are more likely than men to have a difficult time falling and staying asleep (resulting in numerous health issues). Based on these statistics, Winged has crafted a female-focused line using American hemp. 

The non-drowsy, relaxation recipe for CBD gummies aims to help reduce stress and anxiety, using not just hemp-derived CBD and other cannabinoids (they use full-spectrum, organically grown hemp), but evening primrose oil (which may help with hormonal support), chamomile, lemon-balm extract and L-theanine (all of which are used for mental relaxation). This unique combination of botanicals, in addition to tension-melting CBD, comes together in a natural fruit gummy with herbaceous superpowers.

17. Balance CBD Gummies

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A bag of Balance CBD Gummies

Milligrams: 10 per gummy

Gummies per package: 30

Price: $35

Founded by a trainer/athlete and a doctor, and with super-creative flavors like cotton candy, orange dreamsicle and wildberry, Balance is one of the most unique CBD gummy brands out on the market. When cofounder Cara Thien was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, menopause and severe anxiety, she decided to take matters into her own hands. With the help of Dr. Manpreet Bajwa, Balance was born. 

Grab the variety pack to try all five of the flavors on offer (they’re crafted by food scientists and chemists). The ingredients are all organic, down to the purified spring water, and use pectin to keep them vegan. The sugared squishy cubes come in a resealable bag, making them easy to take on the go. Speaking of those bags, there’s a QR code on each of them so you can access the lab and testing information from your phone. Talk about transparency! And you can rest easy knowing that all Balance’s products contain less than 0.3 percent THC, so it’s all legal and safe.

18. +PlusCBD Oil Gummy Wedges

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A jar of +PlusCBD Oil Gummy Wedges

Milligrams: 5 per gummy

Gummies per package: 30

Price: $30

With flavors like cherry mango and citrus punch, you can’t help but start salivating when you see these little wedge-shaped gummies from +PlusCBD Oil, a brand that’s been in the CBD space since 2012. This jar of goodies has a lower dose of hemp, with five milligrams per bite, and uses full-spectrum CBD oil from European-grown hemp grown from EU certified hemp seeds, with no artificial ingredients. +PlusCBD Oil prides itself on using naturally occurring phytonutrients, including fatty acids, terpenes and vitamin E. 

Not only do these gummies taste delicious, but the quality is reliable and the CBD is potent, even though the dose is low. The company offers traceability, meaning you can see exactly where the CBD came from, starting with the seed (and you can find a lot of this information using the QR code on the packaging). And if these little cannabidiol treats don’t work for you, the brand offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

19. Pure Relief Gummy Bears

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A bag of Pure Relief Gummy Bears

Milligrams: 30 per gummy

Gummies per package: 30

Price: $60

Get ready for some serious relief with seriously pure ingredients, thanks to Pure Relief gummy bears. Their daytime hemp gummies were created (along with the rest of the Pure Relief brand) as a response to the opioid epidemic in North Carolina. Founder Michael Melton was searching for safer, healthier pain relief, especially for those close to him who were struggling with drug addiction. Thus, Pure Relief was born. 

The assorted fruit-flavored gummy bears are coated with a sugary finish, and are made with vegan and non-GMO ingredients, including natural fruit extracts. Need help sleeping? Their nighttime blend has a little melatonin to help you get some shuteye. 

20. HempBombs

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A bottle of HempBombs

Milligrams: 15 per gummy

Gummies per package: 60

Price: $100

The Florida-based company HempBombs creates their herbally powered super gummies with products from an organic farm in the USA. To guarantee quality, you can find all the lab results by batch number on their website. 

The 15 milligrams of CBD isolate (again, zero THC) in their Sleep Gummies is supported by other plant-based relaxants, including L-theanine, scutellaria and passiflora. Add in five milligrams of melatonin, and you’re good to go … to bed. Because of its efficacy, fans have consistently rated HempBombs as a top CBD product. 

21. Remedi CBD Remedi Plus Boost Gummies

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A jar of Remedi CBD Remedi Plus Boost Gummies

Milligrams: 25 per gummy

Gummies per package: 10

Price: $40

Remedi CBD has created a popular CBD gummy in berry and mixed citrus flavors. Their 25 milligram CBD gummies are infused with additional vitamins, like B1, B3, B8 and B12, as well as vitamin C, making this a veritable multivitamin. Taking a daily supplement in a delicious star-shaped gummy treat? Yes, please! Bonus: these have a little caffeine in them, so they’re definitely intended for daytime. 

Think: a double shot of espresso, without the jitters. This Colorado-based brand uses only certified organic ingredients, so you know your energizing vitamin is also pretty darn clean, and free of pesticides. What’s more, the hemp used in the products is certified by the Colorado Department of Agriculture. 

22. Blue Moon Hemp CBD Gummies

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A bag of Blue Moon Hemp CBD Gummies

Milligrams: 250 per package

Gummies per package: 2 ounces

Price: $25

As you may have noticed, Blue Moon Hemp is a little different because they measure the CBD per ounces of gummies, not by individual gummy. Using strawberry, orange and pineapple for flavoring, these sweet and sour gummy rings are a nod to your favorite smoothie, and with 0 percent THC, you won’t have to worry about taking one of these before heading to work or driving a car. 

Blue Moon offers by-the-batch test results in easily accessible places, so the consumer can always know exactly what’s in their bag of treats. The USA-grown hemp is processed in a third-party lab to create the CBD isolate that makes these candies so potent.

23. Highland Pharms

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A bottle of Highland Pharms Hemp+ Gummies

Milligrams: 20 per gummy

Gummies per package: 20

Price: $70

Full-spectrum, all-natural, potent CBD gummies can be yours thanks to widely loved Highland Pharms. These chewy bears are dusted in a sugar coating, and can be cut in half to adjust your dose. The brand is headquartered in Texas, and was founded to help give consumers a health option outside of big pharma. The cofounder, Luke, passed away from cancer in 2016, but used CBD to ease the pain of both the disease and treatment. Using “ultra high grade” Colorado hemp, Highland honors Luke’s memory while delivering a delicious and healing product to those who need it. 

Though the FDA prohibits CBD companies from making health claims, fans of Highland Pharms come to this brand for help with anything from fibromyalgia to anxiety and insomnia to what Luke came to CBD for: cancer. Another great factor about Highland Pharms? They use pharmaceutical-grade hemp, a type of hemp bred for a high cannabinoid content and additional qualities that are well suited for medicinal use.

24. Royal CBD

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A jar of Royal CBD

Milligrams: 25 per gummy

Gummies per package: 30

Price: $100

Round gummies in strawberry, orange and grape flavors offer you 25 milligrams of CBD in every vegan-friendly soft candy. Like the rest of the products on this list, they’re non-psychoactive thanks to being THC-free. As for the CBD, it’s an isolated compound, sourced from American-grown hemp, and uses CO2 extraction before being tested by an independent third-party lab. 

Royal CBD prides itself on strict quality control to ensure that every consumer gets a safe cannabis product. The gummies themselves are designed by scientists, herbalists and nutritionists who work with the Royal CBD brand and ensure they’re of the highest standard.

25. Green Roads Relief Toads

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A bottle of Green Roads Relief Toads

Milligrams: 10 per gummy

Gummies per package: 40

Price: $43

Green toads may sound like a traditional French frog dish (and perhaps not particularly appetizing), but we assure you these tropically tinged green gummies are delicious. The Relief Toads from Green Roads CBD are little frog-shaped chews in assorted tropical flavors, carrying 10 milligrams of CO2-extracted CBD. 

Green Roads uses industrial hemp grown on American farms, and is headquartered in Florida, using pharmacists to create the formulas in all of their products. Want to try one little amphibian-inspired treat at a time? They also have “CBD Froggies,” which are individually wrapped, single-dose gummies with either a 25 milligram or a 50 milligram option. 

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Virgin Orbit Just Launched a Rocket From a 747

On Sunday morning, Virgin Orbit became the third privately funded American rocket company to reach orbit—and the only one to accomplish the feat from mid-air. The company’s liquid-fueled rocket, called LauncherOne, was released from beneath the wing of Cosmic Girl, Virgin Orbit’s customized Boeing 747, off the coast of California. Cosmic Girl’s pilot, Kelly Latimer, parted ways with the rocket at around 30,000 feet—the cruising altitude of a typical passenger jet—and after a few seconds of freefall, LauncherOne ignited its engines and boosted itself into space. Once it reached orbit, the rocket released its payload of 10 cubesats built by researchers from NASA and several American universities before it fell back to Earth.

The successful launch was a welcome win for the Virgin team, which has been buffeted by setbacks since its first launch attempt last spring. That first test flight in May was aborted seconds after the rocket was released due to a breakage in its propellant line. After engineers had identified and fixed the problem, company officials planned a second launch in December, but decided to postpone it as Covid-19 cases spiked around their headquarters in Los Angeles.

“We’ve done a huge amount to assure the safety of the team, and so much of our launch operations and our activities are virtual,” Virgin Orbit CEO Dan Hart told reporters on a call ahead of Sunday’s launch. “Doing it in the face of a pandemic is really amazing.”

The WIRED Guide to Commercial Human Space Flight

Everything you need to know about Blue Origin, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and what actually happens to your body if you go live in space.

Today’s launch marked the culmination of nearly a decade of work by engineers at Virgin Orbit, which is one of two rocket companies founded by billionaire Richard Branson. In 2018, Virgin Orbit’s sister space company, Virgin Galactic, made history by launching a spacecraft carrying two humans from beneath a custom plane, which sent them rocketing to the edge of space. Branson clearly loves launching stuff from planes and has staffed both companies with engineers and pilots who make it look easy. Now the question is, can he turn it into a sustainable business?

Air launch is typically associated with missiles that are bound for targets on the Earth’s surface, but it has a long history in the space industry too. The first orbital air-launched rocket, known as Pegasus, was sent to orbit in early 1990 by Orbital Sciences Corporation, which has since been folded into Northrop Grumman. Like LauncherOne, Pegasus is able to boost around 1,000 pounds of payload into space, and the rocket is dropped from the belly of a gutted passenger jet. But in the last 30 years, Pegasus has flown only 44 missions. To put that in perspective, SpaceX has flown more than twice as many in the past decade.

“When I started looking at feasibility studies and thinking about whether we should do this, Pegasus was the blinking neon sign that was flashing in my vision 24/7,” Will Pomerantz, the vice president of special projects at Virgin Orbit, told WIRED ahead of the company’s first launch attempt last May. “Technologically, Pegasus is a huge success. But from a market perspective, perhaps not.”

Pomerantz says the reason Pegasus failed to attract many customers is because when it launched, those customers didn’t exist. The commercial small satellite industry has exploded in the past few years, and now there are hundreds of companies looking for a cheap ride to space. Pegasus is still around, but its launch cost has ballooned over the past few decades. In the 1990s, NASA paid $16 million for a Pegasus launch. Today it costs closer to $60 million. Even accounting for inflation, that cost has nearly tripled, and it is beyond what most of these small satellite companies can afford. Air launch was once an idea ahead of its time—but now Pomerantz believes its time has come.

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The coolest car screens and displays from CES

The head-up display shows information like speed in the near view, and augmented-reality data superimposed over real-world features in the far view. (Panasonic /)

Glancing down at an analog gauge in your vehicle to see if you’re pushing the speed limit, or need to find a gas station, is a reliable method for finding the information you need while driving. But of course, in-vehicle screens have also been doing that job in cars for a while now, from small infotainment displays to massive touchscreens like you’ll find in a Tesla. Some vehicles even offer a head-up display that can present the information you need near your eye level on the windshield in augmented reality.

This year’s all-virtual CES allowed car makers and other firms to tout their big, fancy in-car display tech. Here’s what we saw from a few key companies.

Panasonic’s AR head-up display

Whether it’s in a fighter jet or a car, a head-up display has pretty clear purpose: to superimpose key information in line with the operator’s view of the world, so ideally they don’t have to look down to see what they need to know.

Panasonic is touting its version of a HUD, and it incorporates metrics like speed along with augmented reality features that highlight objects in the real world. The company has broken that down into “near field” and “far field” information, with the former showing data like your fuel level, and the latter incorporating that AR aspect. For example, a yellow bicycle icon may be overlaid on a real cyclist to help you notice them, while a digital green arrow could reveal the height of an upcoming overpass. And ideally, everything should be lined up nicely with the driver’s field of view, thanks to an eye-tracking feature.

“Our AR HUD has a larger image size, and longer virtual image distance, which can add depth that makes the graphic appear to be floating in the real world,” Sachiko Kobayashi, a UX designer with Panasonic Automotive Systems, said in a video discussing the tech, which also incorporates artificial intelligence.

As with any assistive technology designed to make a driver’s job easier, the proof will be in whether it feels like it makes the process safer and smoother, or simply creates more distractions to manage.

Mercedes-Benz’s enormous ‘Hyperscreen’

Mercedes is showing off a giant curvy display—it spans more than 56 inches across—and it even incorporates two air vents. It shows all the types of information you can imagine would be on a vehicle’s dashboard area, like speed, navigation, and entertainment.

Continuing with the artificial intelligence theme, the automaker says that the display can use machine learning to try to anticipate what the driver wants, based on pattern recognition. For example, it could learn that you always call the same person at the same time, and then proactively give you that option by displaying their contact info. Likewise, it could learn that you like using the heated steering wheel at the same time as the heated seats. “The MBUX Hyperscreen continually gets to know the customer better and delivers a tailored, personalized infotainment and operating offerings without the occupant needing to click or scroll anywhere,” Sajjad Khan, the CTO of Mercedes-Benz, said in a statement.


The “Hyperscreen.” (Mercedes-Benz /)

The giant display, at 377 square inches, even includes a dozen haptic feedback actuators, meaning that the screen (it’s actually three screens underneath the glass) will vibrate in response to touch.

It will even illustrate the G forces the driver is experiencing by showing a moving “flying saucer” graphic, which is how Vera Schmidt, the head of Mercedes-Benz Advanced Digital Design, described the feature in a video.

Samsung’s in-car office and gaming suite

Finally, Samsung has continued to envision what a very fancy “digital cockpit” for the car could look like, and part of the answer is: more big screens. A 49-inch display would sit in front of the driver in a look-down-while-driving configuration, but could be raised upwards to be front and center for other jobs when the car is safely parked somewhere (we hope). That way, you could conduct a video conference from the huge screen in your car, maintaining that “I never stop working and I have a constant headache” feeling. Or, you could play video games.

In the backseat, another large screen would pop out, and rotate from vertical to horizontal, for the kids back there to stare at. Finally, the system would also keep tabs on the health of the passengers on board, and could tweak the vehicle’s onboard systems, like the lights, to try to help them chill out, Samsung says.

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Facebook blocks events around D.C. and state capitals ahead of inauguration

Facebook is cracking down on events in an effort to prevent its users from organizing violence ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration. The social network says it will block all events in areas around Washington D.C. and state capitals through next week’s inauguration.

“We are blocking the creation of any new Facebook events happening in close proximity to locations including the White House, the US Capitol building and any of the state capitol buildings through Inauguration Day,” Facebook writes in an update. “Our operations center is also conducting a secondary review of all Facebook events related to the inauguration and removing ones that violate our policies.”

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NASA Says 2020 Tied for Hottest Year on Record

The results are finally in: 2020 was one of the hottest years in recorded history, according to data released today by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. By NASA’s reckoning, it tied with 2016 for the hottest year in the books, while NOAA placed it in the number-two spot.

Regardless of its final placement, 2020’s feverish heat came without the major El Niño event that boosted global temperatures to a new high four years ago—and thus the year provides an important marker of the power of the long-term warming trend driven by human activities that emit greenhouse gases. “Until we stop doing that, we’re going to see this over and over again,” says Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which keeps the agency’s temperature records.

In the final reckoning, 2020 was just 0.04 degree Fahrenheit behind 2016, according to NOAA (whose records go back 141 years). NASA found that 2020 was in a statistical tie with 2016. The variation between NASA and NOAA is partly because of the different ways each processes temperature data: NOAA does not extrapolate temperatures over the Arctic to make up for missing data there, and Schmidt says leaving that information out misses one of the fastest-warming spots on the globe.

One of 2020’s notable hotspots was Siberia, which was covered by an angry, deep-red blotch on global temperature maps. The region has been exceptionally hot since the beginning of that year, contributing to last January being the planet’s warmest on record. At one point the Siberian town of Verkhoyansk reported 100.4 degrees F. If this figure is verified by the World Meteorological Organization, it would be the first time recorded temperatures above the Arctic Circle have surpassed 100 degrees F.

Where temperatures have been warmer or cooler than average across the globe in 2020. Credit: NOAA

But this hotspot is not the sole reason that 2020 is at the top of the charts. Above-average temperatures were prevalent over large swaths of the globe. Europe and Asia had their hottest years on record, while South America and the Caribbean had their second-hottest, according to NOAA. The world’s oceans had their third warmest year. And there are always hotspots somewhere on the globe in a given year—so the one in Siberia is not all that unusual, Schmidt says. In 2019, for example, the main hotspot was elsewhere in the Arctic, in an area encompassing parts of Alaska, Canada and Greenland.

But broad areas of warmth and more localized hotspots are both linked to the long-term warming trend. “It’s gotten to the point where these intense heat waves would not be possible in any reasonable amount of time in a non-human-perturbed climate,” Schmidt says. A recent analysis of the role of global warming in Siberia’s prolonged heat found that such extremes would happen around once every 80,000 years in the absence of anthropogenic warming. These extremes are also happening over larger areas than they would in the absence of climate change, Schmidt says.

Importantly, 2020’s ranking at or near the top of the charts happened without the major El Niño event that helped propel 2016 to the top of the rankings. During an El Niño a band of warm ocean water covers the tropical Pacific Ocean, which can raise global temperatures. “When we have a big El Niño event, we do tend to have a record being broken,” Schmidt says, adding that this factor is often what causes the record to be broken by a large amount. But an El Niño is not necessary to take the lead: both 2014 and 2015 became the then-hottest year without one. “We’ve broken the records pretty consistently, even in years where we didn’t have an El Niño,” Schmidt says. This fact also speaks to the way the inexorable rise in warming has been steadily elevating the baseline temperatures that events such as El Niño or heat waves add to. Recently, even years with a La Niña event (which tend to be cooler, because colder ocean waters spread across the tropical Pacific) are warmer than El Niño years of decades past.

To that point, 1998—the one 20th-century year that had until recently remained in NOAA’s top 10 warmest—did have a major El Niño. It was a record-setting outlier at the time. But because of global warming, the earth’s baseline temperature has shifted so much higher that 1998 is now being left in the dust (2016, which had a similarly strong El Niño, was 0.63 degree F hotter). It has now officially been knocked out of NOAA’s top 10. All of the 10 warmest years in its records have occurred since 2005—and the top seven have occurred since 2014—says Ahira Sánchez-Lugo, a climatologist at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

That bunching of heat records in more recent years is, again, because of long-term warming, which is stacking the deck for ever more frequent records. A 2017 analysis in Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society noted that between the late 19th century and 1980, new records for the hottest year would happen about every eight to 11 years. Since 1981, they have been occurring about every three to four years.

So 2020’s high ranking was not entirely unexpected—and is yet another stark example of how far the earth’s climate has deviated from its natural course. “Everything that you see is conditioned on this long-term trend,” Schmidt says. “I work for NASA, but it’s not rocket science.”

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Earth to reach temperature tipping point in next 20 to 30 years, new study finds — ScienceDaily

Earth’s ability to absorb nearly a third of human-caused carbon emissions through plants could be halved within the next two decades at the current rate of warming, according to a new study in Science Advances by researchers at Northern Arizona University, the Woodwell Climate Research Center and the University of Waikato, New Zealand. Using more than two decades of data from measurement towers in every major biome across the globe, the team identified a critical temperature tipping point beyond which plants’ ability to capture and store atmospheric carbon — a cumulative effect referred to as the “land carbon sink” — decreases as temperatures continue to rise.

The terrestrial biosphere — the activity of land plants and soil microbes — does much of Earth’s “breathing,” exchanging carbon dioxide and oxygen. Ecosystems across the globe pull in carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and release it back to the atmosphere via the respiration of microbes and plants. Over the past few decades, the biosphere has generally taken in more carbon than it has released, mitigating climate change.

But as record-breaking temperatures continue to spread across the globe, this may not continue; the NAU, Woodwell Climate and Waikato researchers have detected a temperature threshold beyond which plant carbon uptake slows and carbon release accelerates.

Lead author Katharyn Duffy, a postdoctoral researcher at NAU, noticed sharp declines in photosynthesis above this temperature threshold in nearly every biome across the globe, even after removing other effects such as water and sunlight.

“The Earth has a steadily growing fever, and much like the human body, we know every biological process has a range of temperatures at which it performs optimally, and ones above which function deteriorates,” Duffy said. “So, we wanted to ask, how much can plants withstand?”

This study is the first to detect a temperature threshold for photosynthesis from observational data at a global scale. While temperature thresholds for photosynthesis and respiration have been studied in the lab, the Fluxnet data provide a window into what ecosystems across Earth are actually experiencing and how they are responding.

“We know that the temperature optima for humans lie around 37 degrees Celsius (98 degrees Fahrenheit), but we in the scientific community didn’t know what those optima were for the terrestrial biosphere,” Duffy said.

She teamed up with researchers at Woodwell Climate and the University of Waikato who recently developed a new approach to answer that question: MacroMolecular Rate Theory (MMRT). With its basis in the principles of thermodynamics, MMRT allowed the researchers to generate temperature curves for every major biome and the globe.

The results were alarming.

The researchers found that temperature “peaks” for carbon uptake — 18 degrees C for the more widespread C3 plants and 28 degrees C for C4 plants — are already being exceeded in nature, but saw no temperature check on respiration. This means that in many biomes, continued warming will cause photosynthesis to decline while respiration rates rise exponentially, tipping the balance of ecosystems from carbon sink to carbon source and accelerating climate change.

“Different types of plants vary in the details of their temperature responses, but all show declines in photosynthesis when it gets too warm,” said NAU co-author George Koch.

Right now, less than 10 percent of the terrestrial biosphere experiences temperatures beyond this photosynthetic maximum. But at the current rate of emissions, up to half the terrestrial biosphere could experience temperatures beyond that productivity threshold by mid-century — and some of the most carbon-rich biomes in the world, including tropical rainforests in the Amazon and Southeast Asia and the Taiga in Russia and Canada, will be among the first to hit that tipping point.

“The most striking thing our analysis showed is that the temperature optima for photosynthesis in all ecosystems were so low,” said Vic Arcus, a biologist at the University of Waikato and co-author of the study. “Combined with the increased rate of ecosystem respiration across the temperatures we observed, our findings suggest that any temperature increase above 18 degrees C is potentially detrimental to the terrestrial carbon sink. Without curbing warming to remain at or below the levels established in the Paris Climate Accord, the land carbon sink will not continue to offset our emissions and buy us time.”

Funding for this research was provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (grant NNX12AK12G), National Science Foundation (NSF) East-Asia Pacific Summer Institute Fellowship (1614404), the Royal Society of New Zealand Foreign Partnership Programme (EAP- UOW1601) and the New Zealand Marsden Fund (grant 16-UOW-027). This work used eddy covariance data acquired and shared by the FLUXNET community, including AmeriFlux, AfriFlux, AsiaFlux, CarboAfrica, CarboEuropeIP, CarboItaly, CarboMont, ChinaFlux, Fluxnet-Canada, GreenGrass, ICOS, KoFlux, LBA, NECC, OzFlux-TERN, TCOS-Siberia and USCCC networks.

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Lithium pollution of a white dwarf records the accretion of an extrasolar planetesimal

Potassium and lithium on a white dwarf

White dwarfs are dense stellar remnants left when a dying parent star throws off its outer layers. The high gravitational fields should cause heavy elements to rapidly sink below the white dwarf surface. Nevertheless some “polluted” white dwarfs have evidence for those materials on their surface, which is thought to be due to the recent accretion of rocky bodies from a surrounding planetary system. Kaiser et al. report a white dwarf with pollution by potassium and lithium. This observation provides a record of the composition of the accreted rocky bodies and of the Galactic lithium abundance when the planetary system formed, billions of years ago.

Science, this issue p. 168


Tidal disruption and subsequent accretion of planetesimals by white dwarfs can reveal the elemental abundances of rocky bodies in exoplanetary systems. Those abundances provide information on the composition of the nebula from which the systems formed, which is analogous to how meteorite abundances inform our understanding of the early Solar System. We report the detection of lithium, sodium, potassium, and calcium in the atmosphere of the white dwarf Gaia DR2 4353607450860305024, which we ascribe to the accretion of a planetesimal. Using model atmospheres, we determine abundance ratios of these elements, and, with the exception of lithium, they are consistent with meteoritic values in the Solar System. We compare the measured lithium abundance with measurements in old stars and with expectations from Big Bang nucleosynthesis.

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Vaccine makers in Asia rush to test jabs against fast-spreading COVID variant

The Indian vaccine Covaxin was approved for emergency use earlier this month.Credit: Sanjeev Gupta/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Vaccine makers in India and China are investigating whether their recently approved COVID-19 vaccines are effective against a fast-spreading variant of SARS-CoV-2 now circulating around the world. The move follows similar investigations by the makers of other leading vaccines.

Covaxin, developed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in New Delhi and Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad, is one of several first-rollout vaccines to use an inactivated whole virus to elicit an immune response. Three other inactivated SARS-CoV-2 shots have been approved or granted emergency use in China.

Researchers in India have theorized that such whole-virus vaccines could perform better against new variants than can vaccines that rely on the virus’s spike protein, such as those made by Pfizer and BioNtech, Moderna, and the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca.

If a variant escapes the immune response directed against the spike protein, a whole-virus vaccine could mean that other vulnerable areas of the virus can be attacked, says Srinath Reddy, an epidemiologist and head of the Public Health Foundation of India in New Delhi. “That is still on theoretical grounds,” he says. “Nothing has been demonstrated as yet.”

Government approval

The Indian government cited this theory when it granted Covaxin emergency-use approval on 3 January, even though phase III safety and efficacy clinical trials have not been completed. “This approval ensures India has an additional vaccine shield in its arsenal esp against potential mutant strains in a dynamic pandemic situation — A strategic decision for our vaccine security,” tweeted India’s health minister, Harsh Vardhan.

ICMR virologist Nivedita Gupta says that council scientists are testing whether antibodies found in the blood of people vaccinated with Covaxin are effective at blocking a variant that emerged in the United Kingdom, called B.1.1.7, which is now circulating in India too. The results are expected later this month, she says.

Two research teams in China have tested whether a specific mutation in the B.1.1.7’s spike protein could compromise the inactivated vaccine developed by Sinopharm, a state-run pharmaceutical company, according to Chinese state media. They report that antibodies produced by vaccinated monkeys and people can neutralize the variant, and the results have been submitted for publication. The company has yet to release detailed efficacy data from clinical trials of the vaccine.

Both Pfizer and Moderna, which are based in the United States, have said they are testing mutations in the B.1.1.7 variant and in one that originated in South Africa, called 501Y.V2, to see whether they weaken the performance of their vaccines. A preprint published on 7 January found that a mutation known as N501Y, which has been identified in both variants, did not alter the activity of antibodies produced by people who had been vaccinated with the Pfizer–BioNtech jab1. Data on other mutations and vaccines are expected soon.

But scientists have also noted that laboratory measurements of antibody activity are not always indicative of real-world vaccine performance.

Genomic surveillance

Like many countries, India is using genomic surveillance to track variants of the virus as they emerge. Scientists at the National Institute of Virology in Pune, a biosafety level-4 facility, are sequencing SARS-CoV-2 samples from 30 labs across the country each month. They have isolated and cultured many variants, including B.1.1.7, which is present in India.

“Once you have a virus isolate, it gives you an array of opportunities in terms of tweaking your vaccines, making new diagnostic tests, understanding the effect of existing vaccines on the variants strains,” Gupta says.

After testing Covaxin against the B.1.1.7 variant, the ICMR will move on to investigating the vaccine made by the UK-based University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, which is being produced in India by the Serum Institute of India in Pune, and a second, unapproved shot made by Zydus Cadila in Ahmedabad, Gupta says.

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S&P Dow Jones to remove ADRs of Chinese telecom companies after NYSE decision

FILE PHOTO: 5G active antenna units with logos of China Mobile and Huawei are seen in front of a National People’s Congress (NPC) conference center in Luoyang, Henan province, China February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

January 8, 2021

By Kanishka Singh and Bhargav Acharya

(Reuters) – S&P Dow Jones Indices said on Wednesday it will remove the American Depositary Receipts of three Chinese telecom companies, China Mobile Ltd, China Telecom Corporation Ltd and China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd, from its benchmarks.

“S&P DJI’s announcement to move forward with removing the above-referenced ADRs from its indices is due to the New York Stock Exchange’s (NYSE’s) latest confirmation that the ADRs will be delisted,” it said in an emailed statement.

The NYSE said on Wednesday it will delist the three Chinese companies effective Jan. 11, confirming its latest reversal on the matter a day after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told the NYSE chief he disagreed with an earlier decision to reverse the delistings.

The flip-flopping highlights the confusion over which firms were included in an executive order issued by President Donald Trump in November barring U.S. persons from investing in publicly traded companies Washington deems to be tied to the Chinese military.

Investors had sold positions in the securities after the NYSE first announced plans last week to delist China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom. But the shares rose after NYSE said it would not do so and tumbled again after the latest about-face.

Less than 24 hours before its latest announcement, S&P Dow Jones Indices too had said it would not remove the ADRs of the firms, in line with NYSE’s decision at the time.

Hong Kong shares of China Unicom led losses among the three China telecom stocks to be delisted by NYSE at the start of trading in Asia, down as much as 9.4%.

China Mobile shares were down as much as 6.8%, and China Telecom Corp shares dropped 5.8%.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh and Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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Facebook, Google and Microsoft freeze PAC contributions in the wake of Capitol siege

Facebook is reportedly reassessing its political spending practices after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Following the violence on Capitol Hill last week, Facebook has suspended contributions from its political action committee. And it’s not alone among tech companies.

“Following last week’s awful violence in DC, we are pausing all of our PAC contributions for at least the current quarter, while we review our policies,” Facebook spokesperson Daniel Roberts told CNET. Roberts noted that this doesn’t apply to political spending at large.

Google has also frozen political contributions following the attack. A spokesperson for the tech giant said it’s frozen all NetPAC political contributions and is reviewing its policies. 

AT&T is also evaluating its policies about political contributions.

“Employees on our Federal PAC Board convened a call today and decided to suspend contributions to members of Congress who voted to object to the certification of Electoral College votes last week,” the network carrier told CNET.

Short-term home rental site Airbnb also said it’s withholding financial support from those politicians who voted against the certification of the presidential election results. “Airbnb strongly condemns last week’s attack on the US Capitol and the efforts to undermine our democratic process,” the company said in a statement. Airbnb added that it “will continue to uphold our community policies by banning violent hate group members when we learn of such memberships.”

Axios reported earlier that Microsoft is taking similar steps. Historically, tech PACs have donated to both Democrats and Republicans. 

“Microsoft’s political action committee decided last Friday that it will not make any political donations until after it assesses the implications of last week’s events,” a company spokesperson told CNET in an email. “The PAC regularly pauses its donations in the first quarter of a new Congress, but it will take additional steps this year to consider these recent events and consult with employees.”

Social media companies have  cracked down on President Donald Trump after a mob of his supporters broke into the Capitol on Jan. 6. Among the actions taken: Facebook blocked Trump indefinitely, and Twitter banned his account permanently. Last year, Twitter closed its PAC because of its belief that “political influence should be earned, not bought.” The company’s PAC hasn’t made any donations to candidates since 2018 and it donated its remaining funds to support nonpartisan voter registration activities.

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