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Photo illustration by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook is partnering with a global tech non-profit called Meedan to give its 80+ fact-checking partner organizations access to training from experts in how to handle health and vaccine misinformation, a spokesperson tells Axios.

The big picture: It's part of an expanded effort by Facebook to reduce health misinformation on its platform. The tech giant is facing increasing criticism from the Biden Administration and others that it isn't doing enough to curb misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.

Details: Meedan will host a series of virtual training sessions between its team of doctors, scientists and other health experts and Facebook’s third-party fact-checkers on how to better spot and fact-check misinformation.

  • Meedan’s Digital Health Lab compiles research-based evidence from experts to to address digital health information misinformation. A large part of what Meedan focuses on is providing fact-check trainings specifically for health information to groups that need support.
  • Moving forward, the partnership will give Facebook's fact-checking partners access to Meedan’s health experts whenever they need immediate help with health-related fact-checks.

By the numbers: Facebook has spent $84 million on programs supporting its fact-checking efforts through the Facebook Journalism Project in the past five years.

  • It relies on third-party fact-checkers to police misinformation so it's not on the hook itself for making tough calls on controversial material.

Flashback: Facebook in February said it will take tougher action against claims that vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccination, are not effective or safe. That position was a reversal from its previous position on vaccine misinformation.

The big picture: Fears of a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections in the U.S. are driving more Republicans and right-leaning media, as well as tech companies, to promote vaccinations and combat misinformation.

Go deeper

Philly to begin vaccinating children ages 5-11

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Philadelphia's Public Health Department said certain providers will begin administering COVID-19 vaccines to children ages 5-11 immediately.

Driving the news: CDC director Rochelle Walensky recommended the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 5 to 11 years old late Tuesday.

  • The endorsement, which follows CDC independent advisers' unanimous recommendation, marks the final step in the U.S. approval process, clearing the shots for younger kids.

Texas abortion law remains in effect after appeals court ruling

Pro- and anti-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court as arguments begin about the Texas abortion law on Capitol Hill in November. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A U.S. appeals court transferred a challenge to Texas' law banning most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy to the state supreme court in a 2-1 vote on Monday evening.

Why it matters: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision means the country's most restrictive abortion law can remain in place for the time being.

2 hours 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.