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Photo: Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook will expand its fact-checking operation to vet photos and videos, the company announced Thursday.

Why it matters: Advances in technology are making it easier for bad actors to manipulate real videos to make it appear that someone did or said something they did not. Experts predict that these very sophisticated forms of doctored media, called "deepfakes" are the next frontier of misinformation.

What's new: To date, most of Facebook's fact-checkers have focused on reviewing articles. Now, Facebook says it is expanding fact-checking for photos and videos to all of its 27 fact-checking partners in 17 countries around the world. They also are regularly on-boarding new fact-checking partners.

How it works: Facebook says it's built a machine learning model that uses various "engagement signals," including reports from users, to identify potentially false content. They send false content to fact-checkers for review.

  • It will also use a tactic called optical character recognition (OCR) to extract text from photos to compare that text to headlines from fact-checkers’ articles.
  • Facebook has separated fake content into three categories based on research: (1) Manipulated or Fabricated, (2) Out of Context, and (3) Text or Audio Claim.

Our thought bubble: Timing will be a challenge here. Fact-checking review processes take time to ensure no authentic, standard-bearing content is unnecessarily removed. But often viral videos and photos can spread very quickly before they are flagged, evaluated and removed.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

5 hours ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.