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07th Jan 2020

Facebook bans deepfake videos ahead of 2020 US election

Alan Loughnane

donald trump facebook

However, some edited videos will still not breach the new policy.

Facebook has announced it will remove deepfakes and other manipulated videos from its social media platform if they have been edited, but the move will not affect content that is satire or parody.

The policy change was announced through a blog post late on Monday night, confirming an earlier report from The Washington Post, and is aimed at curbing the spread of misinformation before the 2020 US presidential election.

In the post, Facebook said it would begin removing content that has been edited “in ways that aren’t apparent to an average person and would likely mislead someone” or are created by artificial intelligence or machine learning algorithms.

“Manipulations can be made through simple technology like Photoshop or through sophisticated tools that use artificial intelligence or ‘deep learning’ techniques to create videos that distort reality – usually called ‘deepfakes,'” the company said in a statement.

“While these videos are still rare on the internet, they present a significant challenge for our industry and society as their use increases.”

Going forward, Facebook said it will remove misleading manipulated media if it meets the following criteria:

  • It has been edited or synthesised – beyond adjustments for clarity or quality – in ways that aren’t apparent to an average person and would likely mislead someone into thinking that a subject of the video said words that they did not actually say.
  • It is the product of artificial intelligence or machine learning that merges, replaces or superimposes content onto a video, making it appear to be authentic.

However, the ban does not include content that is parody or satire, or video that has been edited to remove words or change the order in which they appear, the company said.

The social media giant said a recent heavily edited video that attempted to make US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sound like she was repeatedly slurring her words does not breach their new policy and would not be removed.

In October last year, Mark Zuckerberg told the US Congress that Facebook would not fact check political ads – even if they contained lies – in the interest of what Zuckerberg said was “free speech”.

On a positive note, Zuckerberg did admit that he believes lying is bad. He just doesn’t care if you do it on political ads on his platform.

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