AP

Google is ending its longtime "First Click Free" (FCF) policy, which for more than ten years has allowed people to access content that was traditionally behind a paywall for free with their first click into the content on Google Search and Google News properties.

Why it matters: It's a make-nice from Google to publishers, who have been struggling to make digital ad revenue amidst Google and Facebook's overwhelming dominance in that area. The policy was particularly controversial because the design of Google's algorithm forced publishers to comply, or otherwise face a reduction in ad-supported traffic to their websites.

In a blog post, Google says it gave users this access to to help them discover paywall content and learn its value, but premium publishers have long argued that it has hindered their ability to monetize their subscription revenues.

What's new: They're removing FCF from search and adding "Flexible Sampling," a policy that lets publishers explore which different free sampling mechanisms work for them, as long as they stay within Google's updated webmaster guidelines.

Google's Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler says both he and Google CEO Sundar Pichai have spent a lot of time the past few years talking to publishers about ways to support their subscription revenues. "I am hearing from them is that this is a positive step forward and a welcome signal that we're all in," Schindler says.

The competition: Facebook is set to roll out its subscription efforts within Instant Articles in the coming weeks.

Go deeper

Misinformation thrives on social media ahead of presidential debate

Joe Biden speaking in Wilmington, Delaware, on Sept. 27. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

A baseless conspiracy theory that Joe Biden would wear an electronic device in his ear during the first presidential debate on Tuesday went viral on social media hours before the event.

Why it matters: The conspiracy originated on social media before appearing in a text message sent by President Trump’s re-election campaign to supporters. It was then regurgitated by media outlets like Fox News and New York Post, who cited the Trump campaign, throughout the day, according to NBC News.

Appeals court upholds six-day extension for counting Wisconsin ballots

Photo: Derek R. Henkle/AFP via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling that extended the deadline for counting mail-in ballots in Wisconsin until Nov. 9 as long as they are postmarked by the Nov. 3 election, AP reports.

Why it matters: It's a big win for Democrats that also means that the winner of Wisconsin, a key presidential swing state, may not be known for six days after the election. Republicans are likely to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, as the Pennsylvania GOP did after a similar ruling on Monday.

Go deeper: How the Supreme Court could decide the election

Updated 46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 33,489,205 — Total deaths: 1,004,278 — Total recoveries: 23,243,613Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m ET: 7,183,367 — Total deaths: 205,883 — Total recoveries: 2,794,608 — Total tests: 102,342,416Map.
  3. Health: Americans won't take Trump's word on the vaccine, Axios-Ipsos poll finds.
  4. States: NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June.
  5. Sports: Tennessee Titans close facility amid NFL's first coronavirus outbreak.
  6. World: U.K. beats previous record for new coronavirus cases.
  7. Work: United States of burnout — Asian American unemployment spikes amid pandemic