Facebook says it is banning “deepfake” videos, the false but realistic clips created with artificial intelligence and sophisticated tools, as it steps up efforts to fight online manipulation.
The social network said in a blog post late Monday that it's beefing up its policies to remove videos edited or synthesized in ways that aren't apparent to the average person, and which could dupe someone into thinking the video's subject said something he or she didn't actually say. The news was first reported by the Washington Post and later confirmed by Facebook.
Created by artificial intelligence or machine learning, deepfakes combine or replace content to create images that can be almost impossible to tell are not authentic. Facebook’s new rules won't include parody or satire, or clips edited just to change the order of words. The exceptions underscore the balancing act Facebook and other social media services face in their struggle to stop the spread of online misinformation and "fake news" while also respecting free speech and fending off allegations of censorship.
The U.S. tech company has been grappling with how to handle the rise of deepfakes after facing criticism last year for refusing to remove a doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slurring her words, which was viewed more than 3 million times. Experts said the crudely edited clip was more of a “cheap fake” than a deepfake. The problem of altered videos is taking on increasing urgency as experts and lawmakers try to figure out how to prevent deepfakes from being used to interfere with U.S. presidential elections in November. Facebook said any videos that don't meet existing standards for removal can still be reviewed by independent third-party fact-checkers. Those deemed false will be flagged as such to anyone trying to share or view them, which Bickert said was a better approach than just taking them down.
With files from the Associated Press
Siwei Lyu, professor of computer science and director of the Computer Vision and Machine Learning Lab at the State University of New York at Albany; he is a member of the advisory group for the “Deepfake Detection Challenge,” a contest sponsored by Facebook and other tech companies offering prize money to researchers who can develop technology to help detect deepfakes and other digitally-manipulated media