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Esteban Felix / AP

Facebook announced a new initiative Wednesday called the "Facebook Journalism Project" that aims to strengthen its relationship with the news industry.

What's in it:

  • Testing new storytelling formats: Facebook will begin testing packages of stories within Instant Articles so readers can see multiple stories from the same news outlet at the same time.
  • Free resources for journalists: Facebook will now conduct a series of free "e-learning courses" on Facebook products and tools for journalists. They will also offer journalists free CrowdTangle subscriptions for social media monitoring. They will also begin trainings for local newsrooms through non-profit news organizations and academia.
  • More resources to curb fake news: They announced another program to work with third-party fact checkers to identify hoaxes on Facebook. They also announced partnerships with non-profits and academia to help promote news literacy.

Smart take: Technology companies are typically averse to acknowledging their role in media distribution, as it forces them to consider a public good as opposed to profit.

But there is likely a business motive behind this. Advertisers won't continue to place a premium on data being driven by social platforms that enable misleading news. According to North 6th Agency CEO Matt Rizzetta, Facebook's move draws a clear line between major social media entities and traditional media influencers using their platform.

Why this matters: Theres going to be a greater premium placed on speed for traditional publishers. According to Rizetta, "Mainstream media will need to counter Facebook's news quality with expediency."

We hear you, Mark: This is the third major move announcement Facebook has rolled out in a month to help filter for better news quality. Last month, they announced a fact-checking initiative with the likes of AP and Politifact. Then they announced last week that they're hiring former NBC and CNN news anchor Campbell Brown to head up the inaugural News Partnership Team.

Go deeper

CDC director warns "now is not the time" to lift COVID restrictions

CDC director Rochelle Walensky warned states on Monday that "now is not the time" to lift public health restrictions, as the recent dramatic declines in coronavirus cases and deaths "appear to be stalling."

Why it matters: While the average of 70,000 new infections and 2,000 daily deaths is nowhere near the extremely high levels recorded at the start of 2021, the figures are still a poor baseline to "stop a potential fourth surge" — especially with the threat posed by more contagious new variants, Walensky warned.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduces "ultra-millionaire" wealth tax bill

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Monday introduced a bill in the Senate that would impose a new tax on the assets of America's wealthiest individuals.

Why it matters: The plan, which Warren introduced along with Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) is similar to a proposal that was the centerpiece of Warren's campaign for the presidency in 2020.

3 hours ago - World

Former French President Sarkozy sentenced to jail for corruption

Nicolas Sarkozy, 2011. Photo: XINHUA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

A court in Paris on Monday sentenced former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to one year in prison and a two-year suspended sentence after he was found guilty of trying to bribe a magistrate, AP reports.

Driving the news: Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012, is the first president in France’s modern history to have gone on trial for corruption, per AP. He was charged with corruption and influence-peddling.