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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Axios in an interview that the Facebook News Tab, a new feature he's launching today in New York, is an effort to "do a better job of supporting journalism."

What he's saying: "We get that the internet has been very disruptive to the news industry," Zuckerberg said. "Certainly, we are one of the services that is a part of that trend. So I take our responsibility as part of this very seriously."

  • "This is an important moment in our relationship with the news industry and with journalism," he added. "The values here are things that we felt for a long time. It's taken a while to figure out the right way to implement this."

Between the lines: Facebook has gobbled up ads once run on traditional media, helping drive many newspapers out of business.

  • This latest attempt to drive some revenue back to media companies comes amid a sharp rise in negative media coverage of Facebook. 
Screenshot via Facebook

The News Tab will be available today to a small number of U.S. users, then will roll out more widely in the months ahead.

  • The home page (above) will be curated by journalists, led by Anne Kornblut, who are "independent, free from editorial intervention by anyone at the company," according to a post by Campbell Brown, Facebook's vice president of global news partnerships, who oversees News Tab.
  • Why it matters, from Axios chief tech correspondent Ina Fried: Facebook, which long resisted hiring journalists or paying publishers, is now doing both.

I asked Zuckerberg how Facebook will deal with complaints of bias.

  • "I'm sure we’re going to make mistakes," he said. "But we’re approaching this in a different way than we have before. We’re building a team of people who have real experience as journalists. We’ve hired a diverse group who have different backgrounds and views and different nationalities." 
  • "We are monitoring for any kind of bias, both amongst our team and in the product itself," Zuckerberg said. "Making sure that this ends up being a platform for all different perspectives is obviously going to be very important for this succeeding over the long term."

After his Capitol Hill grilling, Zuckerberg told me about today's announcement: "I guess we just say this is going to be the more fun part of the week."

Editor's note: Axios is a News Tab launch partner.

Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
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Go deeper

Scammers seize on COVID confusion

Data: FTC; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Scamming has skyrocketed in the past year, and much of the increase is attributed to COVID-related scams, more recently around vaccines.

Why it matters: The pandemic has created a prime opportunity for scammers to target people who are already confused about the chaotic rollouts of things like stimulus payments, loans, contact tracing and vaccines. Data shows that older people who aren't digitally literate are the most vulnerable.

12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

14 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.