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Jan. 7, 2020, 10:42 a.m.
Audience & Social
LINK: about.fb.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Laura Hazard Owen   |   January 7, 2020

The Washington Post first reported late Monday, and Facebook confirmed, that the social media company will ban manipulated videos it considers “deepfakes.” Here’s how Facebook defines that:

— 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.

Deepfakes, per this definition, remain super-rare outside technology demos and porn, and some researchers argue their threats are overblown. “Deepfakes are no more scary than their predecessors, ‘shallowfakes,’ which use far more accessible editing tools to slow down, speed up, omit or otherwise manipulate context. The real danger of fakes — deep or shallow — is that their very existence creates a world in which almost everything can be dismissed as false,” First Draft’s Claire Wardle wrote in The New York Times last year.

And shallowfakes are still allowed. Facebook again:

This policy does not extend to content that is parody or satire, or video that has been edited solely to omit or change the order of words.

That would seem to mean, the Post points out, that videos like “a deceptively edited clip of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that went viral on the social network last year,” which was slowed down to make Pelosi appear drunk, would still get through. (“We don’t have a policy that stipulates that the information you post on Facebook must be true,” Facebook said at the time.)

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