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Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Facebook has added 2 new fact-checking partners to help it determine whether content is valid on its platform, according to a spokesperson. Both partners were approved by Poynter's International Fact Checking Network Board, which Facebook has partnered with to approve fact-checkers.

Yes, but: Both of the outlets approved by the Board are considered by some to be partisan: CheckYourFact.com arguably leans right, as it's a for-profit subsidiary owned by The Daily Caller, Inc., although editorially independent. Science Feedback fact-checks news and information primarily based on whether it is rooted in science. Some conservatives disagree with this characterization, arguing climate change is not a settled science.

Why it matters: The situation highlights how messy and complicated fact-checking can be on Facebook — as well as on tech platforms generally, who do not want to exercise editorial responsibility for content that gets posted.

Details: According to a Facebook spokesperson, the agreement struck between Poynter and Facebook in 2016 requires Facebook to accept these entities as a part of its own fact-checking program.

  • Facebook originally outsourced the practice of selecting fact-checkers to Poynter via this partnership in 2016 to avoid having to make any decisions about fact-checkers that could be clouded as biased.

Between the lines: Poynter's International Fact-Checking Network is considered credible, and is used to enforce standards for fact-checking broadly, not just at Facebook.

  • The board is made up of well-known fact-checkers from around the world, including from the Washington Post and Poynter.
  • The IFCN board votes on certification of fact-checkers without any input from Facebook or other partners.
  • It looks at a set of criteria when reviewing fact-checking partners to be a part of its network, including non-partisanship and fairness, transparency of sources, transparency of funding and more.

Yes, but: Just because an outlet is approved as part of the fact-checking network doesn't mean that it's not partisan.

Facebook has come under fire for working with certain fact-checking partners in the past. Most notably, it was criticized — particularly by left-leaning outlets — for adding The Weekly Standard as a fact-checking partner in September before the publication shut down several months ago.

  • In an interview with the Columbia Journalism Review in September, Alexios Mantzarlis, who ran the International Fact-Checking Network at the time, said of The Weekly Standard's approval: "I’m not denying The Weekly Standard is a partisan publication, but the decision we made was that we would look at the partisanship of the fact-checking operation itself, not the entire publication."

The bottom line: Facebook has decided to outsource the approval of fact-checkers, which both saves it from having to make editorial decisions while also forcing it to incorporate fact-checking partners that could be considered controversial.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Science Feedback does not have a website.

Go deeper

45 mins ago - World

At least 2 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least two people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Monday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson told Axios over the phone that two people had been confirmed to have died in the disaster.

Airlines call for Biden admin's "immediate intervention" in 5G deployment

Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The CEOs of leading U.S. air cargo and passenger carriers on Monday warned the Biden administration there could be "catastrophic disruption" after AT&T and Verizon deploy a new 5G service this week.

Driving the news: They said in a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and other top federal officials ahead of the C-Band 5G service's deployment Wednesday that "the nation's commerce will grind to a halt" and "could potentially strand tens of thousands of Americans overseas."

Updated 5 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.