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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.

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Senate Democrats demand answers on FBI's Kavanaugh probe

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Democrats are demanding that the FBI hand over "all records and communications" related to the FBI tip line set up to investigate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he was a nominee in 2018.

Why it matters: The ask comes after the FBI revealed it received more than 4,500 tips about Kavanaugh when he was awaiting Senate confirmation amid sexual assault allegations. Only the most "relevant" of these tips were forwarded to the Trump White House.

Chip relief on the horizon

Illustration: Sarah Grillo

Good news: The worst of the chip supply crunch might be near.

The other side: Here's the bad news... CEOs say chips totally flowing like normal is still a ways out.