The sign outside of Facebook headquarters. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Facebook said Monday it will provide some of its data to elections researchers selected by a new panel of experts.

The bigger picture: There have been calls for Facebook to let academics peer into the workings of its opaque platform. The announcement comes a day before CEO Mark Zuckerberg's testimony to Congress.

Yes, but: Facebook executives said in a blog post that the "focus will be entirely forward looking." Translation: this isn't an opportunity to solely reexamine Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

How it works:

  • A committee of outside experts will "develop a research agenda about the impact of social media on society — starting with elections."
  • That will include bringing in researchers and, in some cases, giving them access to Facebook data. "Once the commission identifies the most important questions, we are committed to helping grantees obtain the right data to answer them," the executives said in their post.
  • A group of private, blue-chip foundations will pay for the effort. Facebook says it will work to protect the privacy of users while providing researchers with data, but "will not have any right to review or approve their research findings prior to publication."

Go deeper

Justice Department sues Google over alleged search monopoly

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The Justice Department and 11 states Tuesday filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, accusing the company of using anticompetitive tactics to illegally monopolize the online search and search advertising markets.

Why it matters: The long-awaited suit is Washington's first major blow against the tech giants that many on both the right and left argue have grown too large and powerful. Still, this is just step one in what could be a lengthy and messy court battle.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 5 million infections.

In photos: Florida breaks record for in-person early voting

Voters wait in line at John F. Kennedy Public Library in Hialeah, Florida on Oct. 19. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP via Getty Images

More Floridians cast early ballots for the 2020 election on Monday than in the first day of in-person early voting in 2016, shattering the previous record by over 50,000 votes, Politico reports.

The big picture: Voters have already cast over 31 million ballots in early voting states as of Tuesday, per the U.S. Elections Project database by Michael McDonald, an elections expert at the University of Florida.