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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

Making sense of Biden's big emissions promise

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden's new U.S. emissions-cutting target is a sign of White House ambition and a number that distills the tough political and policy maneuvers needed to realize those aims.

Driving the news: This morning the White House unveiled a nonbinding goal under the Paris Agreement that calls for cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 50%-52% by 2030 relative to 2005 levels.

Biden pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 52% by 2030

U.S. President Joe Biden seen in the Oval Office on April 15. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

The Biden administration is moving to address global warming by setting a new, economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 50% to 52% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Why it matters: The new, non-binding target is about twice as ambitious as the previous U.S. target of a 26% to 28% cut by 2025, which was set during the Obama administration. White House officials described the goal as ambitious but achievable during a call with reporters Tuesday night.

Health care workers feel stress, burnout more than a year into the pandemic

Photo: Steve Pfost/Newsday RM via Getty Images

More than a year into the coronavirus pandemic, some 3 in 10 health care professionals say they've considered leaving the profession, citing burnout and stress, a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll out Thursday indicates.

Why it matters: Studies throughout the pandemic have indicated rising rates of depression and trauma among health care workers, group that is no longer seeing the same public displays of gratitude as during the onset of the pandemic.