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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies next week. Photo: Paul Marotta/Getty Images

Facebook said Friday it was supporting a bill that increases disclosure requirements for online political ads.

Why it matters: It’s the first time the company has endorsed a specific form of regulation of its platform, and it comes as founder Mark Zuckerberg prepares to face irate lawmakers on Capitol Hill next week. As recently as last week, company officials were dodging whether they supported the bill.

The details:

  • The bill, called The Honest Ads Act, was introduced in October by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.).
  • Ad exec Rob Leathern wouldn’t say whether he would endorse the act just a week ago on a call with reporters.
  • But on Friday, Zuckerberg said in a post that election "interference is a problem that's bigger than any one platform, and that's why we support the Honest Ads Act. This will help raise the bar for all political advertising online."

The impact: Facebook's support of the bill is politically advantageous — its competitors haven't backed the bill — but the legislation doesn't yet have the momentum to pass.

Other updates:

  • Facebook says it plans to release its highly-anticipated public, searchable political ads archive in the U.S. in June. (The company is currently testing a feature in Canada that lets users see ads being run by a specific page.)
  • The company also says that moving forward, only authorized advertisers, who can confirm their identity and location, will be able to run "issue ads," or ads that advocate for a certain political cause. It also says people who manage Pages with large numbers of followers will need to be verified.

In a twist, the company said it would be applying some of these efforts to Instagram as well.

This story has been corrected to reflect that previous comments about the Honest Ads Act were made by Rob Leathern, not Rob Goldman, and the precise nature of the feature being tested in Canada.

Go deeper

VA first federal agency to require COVID vaccines for employees

A medical doctor gives the thumbs-up sign to a COVID-19 patient who is no longer using a respirator at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New York City. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday it would require its frontline health care workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus within the next two months, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The VA is the first federal agency to mandate that employees receive the vaccine. The decision comes as cases of the Delta variant in the U.S. have increased dramatically.

3 hours ago - Health

Biden: Americans with long-COVID symptoms may qualify for disability resources

President Biden speaking in Arlington, Virginia, on July 23. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Americans experiencing long-term symptoms of COVID-19 may qualify for disability resources from the federal government, President Biden announced Monday during an event to mark the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Driving the news: The departments of Justice and Health and Human Services released new guidance Monday that categorizes “long COVID" as a physical or mental impairment, entitling people with the illness to discrimination protections under the the ADA.

Study: Get ready for many more record-shattering heatwaves

NASA computer model image of temperature departures from average on June 27 during the Pacific Northwest heat wave. (NASA Earth Observatory)

The recent deadly heat wave in the Pacific Northwest, during which all-time temperature records were shattered by several degrees, is a prologue to what is coming across much of the U.S., Europe and Asia, a new study finds.

Why it matters: The study shows that the rate of climate change is an under-appreciated driver of extreme heat, and that today's quickening pace of warming virtually guarantees more extreme temperature records in coming decades.