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

BodyArmor takes aim at Gatorade's sports drink dominance

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

BodyArmor is making noise in the sports drink market, announcing seven new athlete partnerships last week, including Christian McCaffrey, Sabrina Ionescu and Ronald Acuña Jr.

Why it matters: It wants to market itself as a worthy challenger to the throne that Gatorade has occupied for nearly six decades.

S&P 500's historic rebound leaves investors divided on future

Data: Money.net; Chart: Axios Visuals

The S&P 500 nearly closed at an all-time high on Wednesday and remains poised to go from peak to trough to peak in less than half a year.

By the numbers: Since hitting its low on March 23, the S&P has risen about 50%, with more than 40 of its members doubling, according to Bloomberg. The $12 trillion dollars of share value that vanished in late March has almost completely returned.

Newsrooms abandoned as pandemic drags on

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facing enormous financial pressure and uncertainty around reopenings, media companies are giving up on their years-long building leases for more permanent work-from-home structures. Others are letting employees work remotely for the foreseeable future.

Why it matters: Real estate is often the most expensive asset that media companies own. And for companies that don't own their space, it's often the biggest expense.