Facebook to prohibit deepfakes ahead of 2020 United States election

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Facebook is supposedly seeking to prohibit some doctored videos, however not all.


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This story belongs to Elections 2020, CNET’s protection of the run-up to ballot in November.

Facebook stated Monday it would restrict users from publishing deepfakes, a type of video controlled by expert system to reveal individuals doing or stating something they didn’t. The relocation is planned to stop the spread of false information on the social media network ahead of the 2020 United States election.

The brand-new policy, nevertheless, does not appear to prohibit all modified or controlled videos, and would likely permit videos like the doctored clip of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that went viral on the network in 2015. Facebook exposed the brand-new policy in an article. 

The brand-new standards had actually been reported previously by The Washington Post.

Deepfakes, which utilize AI to provide a misconception of what political leaders, stars and others are doing or stating, have actually ended up being a headache for tech giants as they attempt to fight false information. Deepfakes have actually currently been developed of Kim Kardashian, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and previous President Barack Obama, and legislators and United States intelligence firms fret they might be utilized to meddle in elections.

“While these videos are still rare on the internet, they present a significant challenge for our industry and society as their use increases,” composed Monika Bickert, vice president of Facebook worldwide policy management. “Our approach has several components, from investigating AI-generated content and deceptive behaviors like fake accounts, to partnering with academia, government and industry to exposing people behind these efforts.” 


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Facebook’s new policy will prohibit videos that are “edited or synthesized” by techniques such as AI that aren’t easy to identify as fake, Bickert wrote. But the new policy won’t extend to videos edited for satire or parody, or to omit or change the order of words, she said.

The change in policy at the world’s biggest social network comes amid rising concern that deepfake technology can be used to spread misinformation that could influence elections or disrupt society. A House energy and commerce subcommittee is scheduled to hold a hearing about the subject, titled “Americans at Risk: Manipulation and Deception in the Digital Age,” on Wednesday morning. Bickert is scheduled to testify. 

Social media companies have different approaches to misleading videos. In May, videos of Pelosi were doctored to make it seem as if she was drunkenly slurring her words. YouTube, which has a policy against “deceptive practices,” took down the Pelosi video. Facebook displayed information from fact-checkers and reduced the spread of the video, although it acknowledged it could have acted more swiftly. Twitter didn’t pull down the Pelosi video.

Facebook’s previous rules didn’t require that content posted to the social media giant be true, but the company has been working to reduce the distribution of inauthentic content. Previously, if fact-checkers determined the video to be misleading, distribution could be significantly curbed by demoting it in users’ News Feeds.

In September, Facebook said it was teaming up with Microsoft, the Partnership on AI and academics from six colleges to create a challenge to help improve detection of deepfakes. The challenge was announced after the US intelligence community’s 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment warned that adversaries would probably attempt to use deepfakes to influence people in the US and in allied nations.

Facebook called its approach to manipulated videos “critical” to its efforts to reduce misinformation on the social network.

“If we simply removed all manipulated videos flagged by fact-checkers as false, the videos would still be available elsewhere on the internet or social media ecosystem,” Bickert wrote. “By leaving them up and labelling them as false, we’re providing people with important information and context.”

CNET’s Queenie Wong contributed to this report.

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