Sep 13, 2018

Facebook expands fact-checking to photos and videos

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.

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Why it matters: The energy components of the "Next Generation EU" plan, part of a wider multi-year budget proposal, appear to be the most substantial attempt yet to stitch low-carbon investments into economic recovery plans.

Zipline drones deliver masks to hospitals; vaccines could be next

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Why it matters: The effort, made possible by a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration to Novant Health, is the nation's longest-range drone delivery operation and could demonstrate how drones could be used in future pandemics, Zipline officials said.

NHL unveils 24-team playoff plan to return from coronavirus hiatus

Data: NHL; Table: Axios Visuals

The NHL unveiled its return-to-play plan on Tuesday, formally announcing that 24 of its 31 teams will return for a playoff tournament in two hub cities, if and when medically cleared.

Why it matters: Hockey is the first major North American sports league to sketch out its plans to return from a coronavirus-driven hiatus in such detail, and it's also the first one to officially pull the plug on its regular season, which will trigger ticket refunds.