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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

4 mins ago - World

U.S. wants nuclear deal done before Iran's new president takes power

Iranian negotiatorAbbas Araghchi arrives at the Grand Hotel Wien for the nuclear talks. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration wants to finalize a deal with Iran to return to the 2015 nuclear deal in the six weeks remaining before a new Iranian president is inaugurated, a U.S. official tells Axios.

Key quote: The official said it would be "concerning" if talks dragged on into early August, when Iran's transition is due to take place. "If we don't have a deal before a new government is formed, I think that would raise serious questions about how achievable it's going to be," the official said.

Drought, record heat wave in West tied to climate change

People on Folsom Lake in Granite Bay, California, U.S., June 16, 2021. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The prolonged and widespread heat wave in the West, along with the region's increasingly severe drought, is a sign of how climate change has already tilted the odds in favor of such extremes, studies show.

Why it matters: The rapidly growing Southwest, in particular, is also the nation's fastest-warming region. The combination of heat and drought could lead to a repeat, or even eclipse, the severity of 2020's wildfire season in California and other states.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

What to watch as infrastructure talks heat up

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A mix of Beltway action and extreme weather events have brought the fault lines in infrastructure talks and their planetary stakes into sharper focus.

Catch up fast: Senate Democratic leaders pledged to seek big climate measures in a multitrillion-dollar, Democrats-only package that faces a very narrow political path.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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