Facebook declares war on ‘deepfakes’

Beleaguered
social media platform Facebook is stepping up its game against media
manipulation. Recognizing that deepfake content poses a real threat to society,
Zuck’s social network swears to ban all such content from its platform,
starting now.

A blog post by Monika Bickert, Vice President of Global Policy Management, describes how the company plans to address not just deepfakes but many other types of manipulated media in 2020, an election year for Americans.

“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,” Bickert writes.

“Collaboration
is key. Across the world, we’ve been driving conversations with more than 50
global experts with technical, policy, media, legal, civic and academic
backgrounds to inform our policy development and improve the science of
detecting manipulated media,” the VP continues. “As a result of these
partnerships and discussions, we are strengthening our policy toward misleading
manipulated videos that have been identified as deepfakes.”

Facebook
will not ban parody or satire, or video content that has been edited solely to
omit or change the order of words, the post explains. Instead, the company and
its partners in this endeavor will remove media only if it meets the following
criteria:

  • It has been edited or synthesized –
    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 authentic.

Community
standards governing nudity, graphic violence, voter suppression and hate speech
will remain unchanged.

Bickert says
Facebook cannot extend the ban to every possible kind of fake because this
would not help win the war against manipulated media.

“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 writes. “By leaving them up and labelling them as false,
we’re providing people with important information and context.”

Facebook is
already making inroads, having identified and removed a network using
AI-generated photos to conceal fake accounts just last month.

The
announcement comes months after Facebook took its first swing at deepfakes with
the Deep Fake Detection Challenge, a $10 million project launched in September
2018 to produce research and open-source tools to detect deepfakes. The project
includes a cross-sector coalition of organizations including the Partnership on
AI, Cornell Tech, the University of California Berkeley, MIT, WITNESS,
Microsoft, the BBC and AWS, as well as others in civil society and the
technology, media and academic communities.

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