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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.

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Biden holds first phone call with Putin, raises Navalny arrest

Putin takes a call in 2017. Photo: Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty

President Biden on Tuesday held his first call since taking office with Vladimir Putin, pressing the Russian president on the arrest of opposition leader Alexey Navalny and the Russia-linked hack on U.S. government agencies, AP reports.

The state of play: Biden also planned to raise arms control, bounties allegedly placed on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who said the call took place while she was delivering a press briefing. Psaki added that a full readout will be provided later Tuesday.

Biden signs racial equity executive orders

Joe Biden prays at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 3, 2020, in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. PHOTO: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed executive orders on housing and ending the Justice Department's use of private prisons as part of what the White House is calling his “racial equity agenda.”

The big picture: Biden needs the support of Congress to push through police reform or new voting rights legislation. The executive orders serve as his down payment to immediately address systemic racism while he focuses on the pandemic.