Facebook bans deepfakes in fight against online manipulation

Posted at 9:27 AM, Jan 07, 2020

MENLO PARK, Cali. – Facebook says it's banning “deepfake” videos as it steps up efforts to fight online manipulation.

The social network said Monday that it's beefing up its policies to remove the false but realistic clips created with artificial intelligence.

Going forward, Facebook says it will remove misleading manipulated media if it meets both of 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 to be authentic.

However, the company said the new rules won't include parody or satire, or clips edited just to change the order of words.

The exceptions underscore the balancing act Facebook faces as it struggles to stop the spread of online misinformation and "fake news" while also respecting free speech and fending off allegations of censorship.

Consistent with its existing policies, Facebook says audio, photos or videos, whether a deepfake or not, will be removed from Facebook if they violate its community standards, including those governing nudity, graphic violence, voter suppression and hate speech.

“Videos that don’t meet these standards for removal are still eligible for review by one of our independent third-party fact-checkers, which include over 50 partners worldwide fact-checking in over 40 languages,” wrote Facebook. “If a photo or video is rated false or partly false by a fact-checker, we significantly reduce its distribution in News Feed and reject it if it’s being run as an ad. And critically, people who see it, try to share it, or have already shared it, will see warnings alerting them that it’s false.

Facebook says its enforcement strategy against misleading manipulated media also benefits from its efforts to root out people behind these kinds of efforts.

“Just last month, we identified and removed a network using AI-generated photos to conceal their fake accounts,” Facebook wrote. “Our teams continue to proactively hunt for fake accounts and other coordinated inauthentic behavior.”