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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook is tightening its policies on "manipulated media," including deepfakes, Monika Bickert, the company's vice president of global policy management, says in a blog post.

Why it matters: Facebook has been criticized for the way it enforces its policies on deepfakes (AI-generated audio and video) and other misleading media. In particular, critics took aim at the tech giant's decision to allow a doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to remain on its platform last year.

What's new: The new standards call for manipulated videos to be removed from the platform if they meet the following criteria:

  1. If video is edited or synthesized beyond adjustments for clarity and quality in ways that are not obvious to an actual person and would likely mislead someone into thinking that a subject of the video said something that they did not actually say.
  2. If the video is altered via artificial intelligence or machine learning, not just Photoshop or another standard video-editing program, in a way that makes it appear to be authentic.

Between the lines: The policy updates don't extend to content that is parody or satire, Facebook says. Nor does it extend to video that's been edited "solely to omit or change the order of words."

Yes, but: Even if a video doesn't meet this new criteria for removal, it can still be taken down if it violates any of Facebook's other Community Standards covering issues like graphic violence, nudity or hate speech.

  • Similarly, any type of media that is identified as being a part of a coordinated inauthentic campaign will be taken down — even if the video doesn't violate the deepfake policy.

What's next: Videos that don’t meet the new standards for removal are still eligible for review by Facebook's third-party fact-checkers, the company says.

The bottom line: Facebook says that it doesn't want to remove all manipulated videos flagged by fact-checkers as false because those videos will be available elsewhere on the internet regardless. Rather, it thinks the better policy is to leave them up and label those videos as false — giving users context that they may not get elsewhere.

Go deeper

Updated 56 mins ago - World

State Department orders evacuation of U.S. diplomats' families from Ukraine

From left, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Chargés d'Affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien during a meeting with Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv. Photo: Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The State Department will begin evacuating families and non-essential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory published Sunday evening.

Why it matters: The move underscores U.S. fears that a Russian invasion could destabilize Ukraine and threaten embassy's ability to assist Americans.

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February — FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated".
  2. Vaccines: Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: Beijing Olympic Committee lowers COVID testing threshold ahead of Games — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker