Facebook is banning deepfakes and Photoshopped photos from its platform. However, this won’t apply across the board, with only manipulated media designed to deceive being removed. Which means parody, satire, and media edited for legitimate reasons is safe.
For the uninitiated, deepfakes are videos which use artificial intelligence to put words in people’s mouths. Literally. They can be used to convince people someone said something they didn’t. Which obviously isn’t good in the current political climate.
What Facebook Is Doing to Combat Deepfakes
Facebook announced this move to combat deepfakes and manipulated media in a post on the Facebook Newsroom. In it, Monika Bickert, Vice President, Global Policy Management, explains what Facebook is banning, and how it’s going to enforce this crackdown.
Facebook is strengthening its policy towards manipulated media. And it will remove any that has been “edited or synthesized” in such a way as to fool the average person. Especially if it’s “the product of artificial intelligence or machine learning”.
— Facebook Newsroom (@fbnewsroom) January 7, 2020
Facebook isn’t going after media edited “for benign reasons, like making a video sharper or audio more clear”. Instead, it’s promising to crack down on media that’s manipulated “in order to mislead”. Which covers both deepfakes and Photoshop jobs.
Given that people share millions of photos and videos on Facebook every day, the social network clearly needed to act. And while no one can possibly think tackling the problem of deepfakes is going to be easy, Facebook deserves credit for at least trying.
Learn About the Technology Behind Deepfakes
Facebook’s timing is, for once, perfect. For starters, deepfakes are becoming more common, and more difficult for ordinary people to detect. But we’re also just months away from the 2020 United States Presidential Election, which is sure to prompt an upswing.
Deepfakes are a problem beyond just Facebook. They’re popping up all across social media and other sites. And they’re now at the sharp end of the battle against fake news. To learn more, read our explainer on deepfakes and the AI behind the phenomenon.