Facebook Starts Policing ‘Deepfake’ Videos Ahead of 2020 US Election

Facebook is taking new steps to crack down on so-called “deepfake” videos, but won’t ban some forms of the videos entirely from its social-media platform.

In a new press release, the social network said that it will now remove videos that appear to have been changed to make it look as if a person is saying something they actually didn’t say.

“Today we want to describe how we are addressing both deepfakes and all types of manipulated media,” said Facebook vice president of global policy management Monika Bickert. “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.”

The regulations would prohibit users from publishing computer-generated, manipulated videos ahead of the 2020 election in an effort to limit misinformation. The rules would not forbid all edited videos, only those that are “edited or synthesized” by technologies like artificial intelligence that the average user would not be able to catch, the sources told the newspaper.

This would not include videos that were edited for satire or parody purposes or those with minor manipulation like mislabeling footage, interweaving dialogue and taking quotes out of context. The social media outlet could fact-check and regulate the spread of videos altered in more minor ways.

“Consistent with our existing policies, audio, photos, or videos — whether a deepfake or not — will be removed from Facebook if they violate any of our other Community Standards, including those governing nudity, graphic violence, voter suppression, and hate speech,” wrote Bickert. “This approach is critical to our strategy and one we heard specifically from our conversations with experts. 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. By leaving them up and labeling them as false, we’re providing people with important information and context.”

Deepfakes have become a source of controversy for Facebook, as many have involved politicians, including US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was the subject of a deepfake video last year that was doctored to make it look like she was slurring her speech at an event in Washington, D.C.

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