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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

Ben Geman, author of Generate
22 mins ago - Energy & Environment

IEA analysis charts "narrow" pathway to Paris climate goal

Photovoltaic solar panels at the power plant in La Colle des Mees, Alpes de Haute Provence, southeastern France. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP via Getty Images

The pathway for transforming global energy systems to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 is "narrow but still achievable" and demands unprecedented acceleration away from fossil fuels, an International Energy Agency report published Tuesday concludes.

Why it matters: It provides detailed analysis and estimates of what's needed for a good shot at limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels — the Paris Agreement benchmark for avoiding some of the most damaging effects of climate change.

2 hours ago - World

In photos: Deadly Cyclone Tauktae leaves trail of destruction across India

A police officer helps a public transport driver cross a flooded street due to heavy rain caused by Tropical Cyclone Tauktae in Mumbai, India, on May 17. Photo: Ashish Vaishnav/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Tropical Cyclone Tauktae killed at least 16 people in India after making landfall in Gujarat Monday, packing 100mph winds, and sweeping across Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra, per Reuters.

The big picture: The storm unleashed heavy rains and winds as authorities continued to grapple with surging infection rates and deaths from COVID-19. Over 200,000 people were evacuated from Gujarat, and ports, airports and vaccination centers shut in the state and Mumbai, Reuters reports. Tauktae weakened from a Category 3 storm into a "severe cyclonic storm" Tuesday morning local time.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Yellen wants business to help foot infrastructure bill

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is heading into the belly of the beast Tuesday and asking the business community to support President Biden's $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan during a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Why it matters: By trying to persuade a skeptical and targeted audience, Yellen is signaling the president’s commitment to raising corporate taxes to pay for his plan. Republican senators, critical to a potential bipartisan deal, oppose any corporate tax increase.