Facebook has banned “deep fake” videos, the AI and machine learning manipulated videos which distort reality, often to show real people saying or doing things they have not actually said or done.

In a company blog post the social media giant said it will remove media which has been heavily manipulated to mislead users and is the product of AI or machine learning that “merges, replaces or superimposes content onto a video, making it appear to be authentic”.

However, the ban only extends to media which has been manipulated with the emerging technology and traditional distortion methods like misleading editing and the distortion of speed and sound are still allowed.

For example, the manipulated video of US politician Nancy Pelosi in which she appears intoxicated is still allowed on Facebook because the methods used to distort it, like slowing certain parts down, do not involve AI or machine learning.

Specifically, Facebook says it will remove misleading manipulated media if it meets the following criteria:

  • It has been edited or synthesised – 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.

All videos remain subject to review by Facebook’s third party “fact checkers”. Facebook says videos deemed to be “false or partly false” but don’t otherwise violate facebook policies (like nudity, violence or hate speech) will remain on the platform but be demoted in newsfeeds or, in the case of ads, rejected. Users who have shared false videos or try to share them will also see a warning alerting them the content is false, according to Facebook.

“This approach is critical to our strategy and one we heard specifically from our conversations with experts,” Facebook’s vice president, global policy management, Monika Bickert wrote in the latest blog post.

“If we simply removed all manipulated videos flagged by fact-checkers as false, the videos would still be available elsewhere on the internet or social media ecosystem. By leaving them up and labelling them as false, we’re providing people with important information and context.”

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