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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

Biden's centrist words, liberal actions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden talks like a soothing centrist. He promises to govern like a soothing centrist. But early moves show that he is keeping his promise to advance a liberal agenda.

Why it matters: Never before has a president done more by executive fiat in such a short period of time than Biden. And those specific actions, coupled with a push for a more progressive slate of regulators and advisers, look more like the Biden of the Democratic primary than the unity-and-restraint Biden of the general election.

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Photo Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook's decision to ask its new independent Oversight Board to review the company's indefinite suspension of former President Trump is likely to set a critical precedent for how the social media giant handles political speech from world leaders.

What they're saying: "I very much hope and can expect … that they will uphold our decision," Facebook's VP of global affairs Nick Clegg tells Axios.

Updated 26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden to attempt "emergency economic relief" by executive order

President Biden. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Biden will continue his executive action blitz on Friday, issuing two more orders in an attempt to provide immediate relief to struggling families without waiting for Congress.

Why it matters: In his second full day in office, Biden is again resorting to executive actions as he tries to increase payments for nutritional assistance and protect workers' rights during the pandemic.