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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios.

Several new studies have been published that explore how fake news has actually decreased on Facebook users’ feeds since the 2016 presidential election.

Why it matters: Axios’ Sara Fischer explains that Facebook is making sure everyone knows that academics are finding that the company's fake news fight is working. But these studies address the main Facebook app, not Instagram and its messaging platforms, where the problem is also prevalent and deepening. 

  • A Stanford University study finds that from 2015-17, Facebook interactions with 570 false news sites declined by more than half after the 2016 election, suggesting that "efforts by Facebook following the 2016 election to limit the diffusion of misinformation may have had a meaningful impact."
  • Another study from the University of Michigan says that Facebook has 50% less “iffy” or questionable content than Twitter.
  • In France, Facebook engagement with “unreliable or dubious sites” has halved since 2015, per Decoders of French newspaper Le Monde.

Between the lines: Facebook has put out handfuls of press releases regarding fake news, displaying a more concentrated approach of how they are tackling the issue.

  • "We’re learning from academics, scaling our partnerships with third-party fact-checkers and talking to other bodies like civil society organizations and journalists about how we can work together," said Facebook in a press release Friday.
  • Facebook was not affiliated financially with any of the studies and did not provide data for any of the research.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

47 mins ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

55 mins ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.