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Photo illustration: Manish Rajput/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook will enlist academics to study whether and how its platforms end up influencing the 2020 U.S. presidential election, the company announced Monday.

Between the lines: Facebook is trying to show it's being mindful of its potential to amplify election-related misinformation. In 2016, CEO Mark Zuckerberg famously said it was a "pretty crazy idea" that Facebook had any influence over that election, which was quickly proven wrong.

Details: A group of 17 outside academics will work with Facebook on experiments in which users will see tweaked News Feeds and ad experiences.

  • Those participants will then be surveyed on their experiences and asked about their viewpoints. The idea will be to assess whether exposure to different experiences on Facebook and Instagram sways people's views.
  • Facebook plans on publishing results next year. It won't have any veto power over the results.

Context: Foreign-fueled misinformation, along with increasingly volatile political discourse, spread on Facebook before the 2016 presidential election, something Facebook has had to reckon with since, facing Congressional hearings and other scrutiny.

What they're saying: "We need to better understand whether social media... largely reflects the divisions that already exist; if it helps people to become better informed about politics, or less; or if it affects people’s attitudes towards government and democracy, including whether and how they vote," Nick Clegg, Facebook's VP of global affairs and communications and Chaya Nayak, head of Facebook’s open research and transparency team, wrote.

Go deeper

Justice Department sues Facebook over favoring H-1B workers

Photo: Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty Images

The Justice Department is suing Facebook, alleging that the tech giant discriminated against American workers by intentionally reserving more than 2,600 jobs for immigrants on H-1B visas, the department announced Thursday.

Details: The department's two-year investigation found that Facebook gave jobs to visa holders whom the company sponsored for green cards, while failing to properly advertise the open positions or consider U.S.-born workers.

2 hours ago - Health

NYC to impose vaccine mandate on private employers

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Monday announced a new COVID vaccine mandate for all private companies.

Why it matters: De Blasio, speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," said the "first-in-the-nation measure" will go into effect starting Dec. 27. It will apply to approximately 184,000 businesses.

D.C.-Beijing tensions are shifting markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. markets stand to lose $2 trillion in value if D.C. and Beijing drift further apart.

Why it matters: Political chasms are showing up in new securities regulations that put companies and investors in a bind. The rules are also another reflection of how much relations between the world’s largest economies have cooled, even as they remain economically interdependent.