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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.

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Go deeper

Alabama trying to use COVID relief funds to expand prisons

Inside the Julia Tutwiler Correctional Facility in Wetumpka, Alabama in 2018. Photo: Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

Alabama state lawmakers are trying to funnel up to $400 million of the state's American Rescue Plan funds to pay for a $1.3 billion plan to build and renovate prisons across the state, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: Diverting dollars from the COVID-relief package, passed in March, is prompting criticism over misuse.

1 hour ago - World

Jake Sullivan discussed human rights and Yemen with Saudi crown prince

MBS in 2018. Photo: Fayez Nureldine/AFP via Getty

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed efforts to end the war in Yemen, the de-escalation of regional tensions with Iran, and Saudi Arabia's human rights record in their meeting on Monday, a senior U.S. official told Axios.

Why it matters: This was Sullivan's first trip to the Middle East since taking up his post in January, and he was the most senior visitor to the kingdom so far from the Biden administration, which has kept the crown prince at arm's length over his roles in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the war in Yemen.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Top Pentagon officials contradict Biden on Afghanistan advice

Photo: Carolone Brehman/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Top military leaders confirmed in a Senate hearing Tuesday they recommended earlier this year that the U.S. keep 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, and that they believed withdrawing those forces would lead to the collapse of the Afghan military.

Why it matters: Biden denied last month that his top military advisers wanted troops to remain in Afghanistan, telling ABC's George Stephanopoulos: "No one said that to me that I can recall."