Facebook bans ‘Deepfakes’

Published on January 7, 2020

In a statement released yesterday, Facebook announced they will be banning ‘deepfakes’ from their social media platform.

What Are Deepfakes?

Deepfakes are essentially edited videos that superimpose other images onto the video. They distort reality in a way that is often quite convincing. The more advanced they get, the larger a problem they pose.

Leading up to the 2020 election, and in a time of great discord, deepfakes contribute to the misinformation that abounds on the internet. People believe what they see, and deepfakes can cause people to see a world that is not the real truth. Users then form opinions accordingly.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has spoken controversially about the importance of free speech on the platform. However, it now seems the company is taking a stance on manipulated content.

What is Facebook Going to Do About It?

Facebook is now taking a harder line, banning deepfakes from the platform in an effort to cut down on misinformation.

Going forward, we will remove misleading manipulated media 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. 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.

Monika Bickert, Facebook Vice President of Global Policy Management

Content that does not meet Facebook’s criteria for removal, but is still determined by third-party checkers to contain false material will be labeled as such. Facebook is also reducing the distribution of the material on News Feeds and rejecting that content if it’s run as an ad.

Misinformation runs rampant on social media. Any steps that companies take to reduce such misinformation is important to the well-being of society. Is this enough to stop the spread of deepfakes and misinformation as a whole? Probably not, but only time will tell.

Olivia Smith is a Senior Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in San Francisco, she covers events, entertainment, fashion, and technology. She also serves as a Voices contributor at PopSugar.

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