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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the tech giant may actually begin paying news publishers to distribute their content, and it may do so in a new, dedicated tab for quality news on its site and app.

Why it matters: Until now, Facebook hasn't paid publishers to distribute their content, but rather has given them the platform to reach millions of people and make advertising dollars off of those eyeballs. The economics of that deal haven't panned out for publishers, causing a trust fallout between the news community and Facebook.

For clarity, Facebook has paid publishers in the past to create news products. It shelled out millions of dollars for publishers to create video news for its video tab "Watch," and it had previously paid publishers to create live video content for Facebook Live — but those efforts are different than licensing the content for distribution.

Details: "Facebook could potentially have a direct relationship with publishers in order to make sure that their content is available, if it's really high-quality content," Zuckerberg said in a video conversation with Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer, the largest publisher in Europe. 

Zuckerberg laid out three core principles for how he would roll out the effort, which includes a business model and news ecosystem to support a quality news tab:

  1. Don't operate in a vacuum: Zuckerberg said he wants to build the news destination input from others, like experts in publishing, journalism, etc.
  2. Make monetization work: He wants to have a direct relationship with publishers in order to potentially build service that pays for high-quality journalism.
  3. Foster a healthy new ecosystem: He says Facebook wants to foster an ecosystem where new forms of journalism, including independent journalism, can thrive.

The big picture: Facebook's struggle to create a way for quality news and information to thrive on its platform has taken a toll on the public conversation.

  • For years, Facebook's News Feed allowed misinformation or low-quality news sources to have the same kind of reach as quality news publishers, which created a polarizing news environment on Facebook.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Starbucks drops worker vaccine mandate after SCOTUS ruling

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Starbucks announced in a memo to employees Tuesday that it has dropped plans to implement a vaccine mandate for all U.S. workers, AP reported on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The company's decision comes in response to the Supreme Court's ruling last week to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

2 hours ago - World

Netanyahu plea talks enter crunch time

Netanyahu (right) meets with his lawyer ahead of a court hearing last February. Photo: Reuven Casto/Pool/AFP via Getty

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's opposition leader and former prime minister, is negotiating a possible plea deal over the corruption charges against him, but Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit appears to be toughening his terms.

Why it matters: Mandelblit leaves office on Jan. 31. Negotiations could continue beyond that point, but the next attorney general may be less interested in quickly reaching a deal.

2 hours ago - Health

Omicron hits American hospitals disproportionately hard

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

America is seeing more COVID hospitalizations than other wealthy countries during the Omicron surge, according to Our World in Data.

Why it matters: Vaccines keep the vast majority of COVID cases out of the hospital, but vaccination rates are also lower in the U.S. than these other countries.

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