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.