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Noah Berger / AP

Facebook is starting to allow some English-language news Pages to register to join a new internal Facebook index that the tech giant will refer to when deciding which Pages to roll out global news products to.

Why it matters: Facebook says the process for building such an index is long overdue. A renewed urgency has been placed on rollout to ensure that sponsored posts from indexed news publishers are placed in a political ads archive created specifically for news organizations, and not general political advertisers.

What it takes: In order to be included in the index, a Page must meet the following requirements:

  • They must abide by guidelines it has developed with news organizations, academics and industry groups, like focusing primarily on current events and information, citing sources, and including bylines and dates.
  • Facebook says Pages that primarily publish ads or promotional content are not eligible, nor are Pages that have a record of publishing articles that have been rated false by the its third-party fact-checking partners.

How it works: Facebook anticipates that it will take several weeks to roll out the application process to all Pages. The company says it will reconvene with news organizations, academics, and industry groups to ensure the process for registration is as smooth as possible.

  • The first use case for the index (which is for internal use only) will be determining which news organizations should be placed in the news archive.
  • It's currently using industry lists to make that determination, but it says it knows industry lists "are not inclusive of all the news pages on Facebook" and its goal is to be as inclusive as possible.

The bottom line: Many people think of valid "news Pages" on Facebook as those belonging to mainstream news organizations. But Facebook considers any Page on its platform that is authentic and follows the aforementioned guidelines to be a "news Page." This means its definition of a "news Page" is far more comprehensive than what most people would think of when they consider what a news organization is.

Editor's note: Axios contributed ideas to the guidelines & participated in test of the product.

Go deeper

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

8 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.