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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all hosted or will host news events this week to discuss what they're doing to promote quality journalism ahead of 2020.

Why it matters: Social media companies have been under attack since the 2016 election for not doing enough to combat misinformation and promote quality content, especially around politics. Now, they want to get ahead of the problem before it's too late.

Details: At several events in New York City this week, top social media executives are talking about the future of news.

  • Instagram head Adam Mosseri addressed Instagram's role in promoting quality news and information at the company's first-ever Instagram News Summit by saying that it was just as big a target as its parent company Facebook when it comes to misinformation.
  • Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said at Twitter's first-ever News Summit that the company wasn't interested in paying publishers for their content right now, because sharing advertising revenue is more "sustainable" long-term.
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will unveil its highly-anticipated "News" tab at an event in New York on Friday, where he will be interviewed by News Corp. CEO Robert Thomson.

Be smart: The leaders of major tech companies barely spoke about news ahead of the last election, so it's notable that all of them are participating in news events hosted by their own companies now.

News executives participating in the events noted that there's been increased investment by Big Tech companies to bolster quality news, but some are skeptical that it will be enough to reverse all of the damage that's already been done to the news industry.

  • USA Today publisher Maribel Perez Wadsworth told Axios on stage at the Twitter News Summit, "What's important is that this is an acknowledgement that not all news is fake and that true, quality, trusted journalism is not free and it's worth investing in."
  • Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith pressed Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on whether the company had become a news publisher, since it has hired journalists to curate its news "Moments" section. Dorsey dodged the question.
  • CNN CEO Jeff Zucker said at CNN's "Citizen" Conference Thursday that Facebook shouldn't accept any political advertising "until they can get it right.” It was reported ahead of the event that CNN plans to launch its own news app to take on Big Tech.

Our thought bubble: With 2020 just around the corner, Big Tech companies are on a PR blitz to ensure they can't be blamed for a surprise outcome of another election.

Go deeper: Big Tech's 2020 news push

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Google's parent shuts down effort to deliver internet via balloons

Image: Loon

Alphabet is shutting down Loon, one of its "moonshots," which aimed to deliver internet service via high-altitude balloons.

Why it matters: The effort was one of several approaches designed to get high-speed connectivity to some of the world's most remote spots and proved useful in the aftermath of disasters that shut down traditional infrastructure.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

What has and hasn't changed as Biden takes over U.S. foreign policy

Photo Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden swiftly recommitted the U.S. to the Paris climate pact and the World Health Organization, but America's broader foreign policy is in a state of flux between the Trump and Biden eras.

Driving the news: One of the most striking moves from the Biden administration thus far was a show of continuity — concurring with the Trump administration's last-minute determination that China had committed "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: New coronavirus cases down, but more bad news ahead — Fighting COVID-19's effects on gender equality.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: NYC postpones vaccine appointments following shipment delays — Private companies step in to fill vaccine logistics vacuum.
  4. World: Biden will order U.S. to rejoin World Health OrganizationBiden to bring U.S. into global COVAX initiative for equitable vaccine access.

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