Facebook bans 'deep fake' video, but will be be enough?

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

You’ve probably seen the videos, of Nancy Pelosi drunkenly stumbling over her words, Donald Trump in an episode of “Breaking Bad,” Mark Zuckerberg copping to stealing users’ personal data.

The video of the Speaker of the House was basically just put into slow motion, but the others are example of sophisticated “deep fake” technology that is making it impossible to distinguish authentic video to images manipulated in a microchip.

After criticism for refusing to take them down -- even the video of its founder -- Facebook has reversed course and banned deep fakes.

But will it be enough?

The social media company says video won’t be allowed if:

“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. And:

“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.”

Facebook says its new policy doesn’t extend to “content that is parody or satire, or video that has been edited solely to omit or change the order of words.”

An obvious parody is one thing, but involve deep fake technology in the political process or legal testimony, and the issue becomes deadly serious -- the possibility of faked video confessions is also frightening.

Was the “taped” confession digitally manipulated? Can the prosecution prove it was not? Courts may be a long time in hashing out those questions.

The court of public opinion is even more fickle -- deep fake technology will be an easy excuse for dishonest politicians to blame if caught saying something damaging on tape.

Social media users have an important role in the fight against online lies and misinformation as well. Before you “like” or share a posting, are you willing to stake your reputation on its truthfulness?

If not, scroll on to the next cat video.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: