Published: Sat, June 29, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Deepfakes pose puzzle for Facebook

Deepfakes pose puzzle for Facebook

SteelHouse CEO Mark Douglas provides insight into "deepfake" videos of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg said that deepfakes may need to be treated in a different way from other forms of misinformation, which many believe Facebook has failed to manage properly. Sign-up now and enjoy one (1) week free access! Still, he said, there are decisions about what constitutes acceptable political speech and advertising that Facebook, as a private company, should not be making by itself. For instance, the recent altered video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that made her sound like she was slurring her words does not meet the definition of a deepfake.

"But, I think you want to make sure you're scoping this carefully enough that you're not going to be giving people the grounds or precedent to argue that the things they don't like that maybe change the meaning somewhat of what they said get taken down", he said.

The House Judiciary committee said earlier this month that it's launching a "top-to-bottom" antitrust investigation of the tech industry, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

Deepfake videos, footage altered by AI to make it appear that the person in the video is doing or saying something that they are not, have already been used for the goal of spreading political disinformation. A video might be edited by someone else, but should that give the people in them the ability to have them taken down?

"I definitely think there's a good case that deepfakes are different from traditional misinformation, just like spam is different from traditional misinformation and should be treated differently", he said.

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The company is talking to "a lot of different experts" about deepfakes, he said, and as AI technology improves he thinks it's "sensible" to have a specific policy that treats such content differently from how the company typically treats false information online.

In fact Facebook had refused to take down that deepfake of Mrs Pelosi, instead opting to "downrank" the video in an effort to minimise its spread.

That's something that is a little bit above our pay grade'.

Zuckerberg said Facebook is now evaluating its policy on deep fakes by consulting with experts.

"Once the fact checkers saw it ... they were able to rate it within an hour, but it took more than a day for our systems to flag it, and during that time it got more distribution than our policies should have allowed, so that was an execution mistake". And videos like the one depicting Pelosi will stay up.

An Instagram spokesperson had told that they would 'treat this content the same way we treat all misinformation on Instagram'.

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