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Facebook tries to curb deepfake videos as 2020 election heats up

Facebook has launched a new policy aimed at curbing highly-convincing videos known as deepfakes that have been manipulated using artificial intelligence. The social media platform announced the change in a blog post, saying it would remove videos that have been manipulated using artificial intelligence or machine learning to make it appear that the subject has said words they did not. How AI came to rule our lives over the last decade

The policy could help combat the spread of manipulated videos ahead of the 2020 US presidential election, a contest that is expected to breed huge amounts of fake news and disinformation that could mislead voters.Facebook (FB) stopped short of a comprehensive ban, however. The policy does not extend to parody or satire, it said, or video that has been “edited solely to omit or change the order of words.”The blog post was written by Monika Bickert, Facebook’s vice president for global policy management. The announcement comes one day before Bickert is scheduled testify before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in a hearing on digital manipulation and deception.Facebook has been criticized many times in the past for its failure to stop the spread of misinformation and hate speech. Deepfakes represent a new challenge for the company, though one that is still largely hypothetical.In June, Facebook declined to remove a deepfake video of CEO Mark Zuckerberg from its Instagram platform.

The post manipulated a real video with an actor’s voice to make it seem as though Zuckerberg was discussing having total control of billions of people’s “stolen data.” Facebook told CNN Business on Tuesday that the video would not be removed under the new deepfake policy. However, the video would be subject to the company’s other fact-checking policies, it said, including a warning screen that the content was false.Last year, Facebook also declined to remove a heavily edited video of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi which was slowed down to make it seem as though she was slurring her speech.

Though the video was not technically a deepfake, it sparked a public conversation about what responsibilities social media companies have regarding edited videos of politicians.The number of deepfake videos online is spiking. Most are pornBickert wrote in her blog post that Facebook is also focusing on the people behind deepfakes. Last month, the company removed a network of accounts fronted by fake photos created with artificial intelligence. The accounts generally posted in support of President Donald Trump and against the Chinese government. Bickert wrote that Facebook would continue to remove any video that violates its rules on nudity, graphic violence, voter suppression or hate speech.

Third-party fact checkers also review videos, and Facebook limits their distribution if the videos are determined to be fake or misleading. People who see the content or try to share it are warned that it’s false

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