Facebook deepfake ban techno-solution distraction

This week Facebook announced a new policy banning deepfake videos.

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This week Facebook announced a new policy banning deepfake videos. Facebook’s vice president of global policy management, Monika Bickert, said videos that have been edited “in ways that aren’t apparent to an average person and would likely mislead someone” and were created by artificial intelligence or machine learning algorithms would be removed under the new policy.

Ok, this is good, but it’s nowhere near good enough, a sentiment echoed by many. It’s another example of Facebook’s business strategy being driven by its AI strategy, rather than any genuine change in the company’s policy for reducing the pollution level of information on the platform.

Deepfakes are definitely a concern but, as this paper from Data and Society points out, they are only part of the story. “Cheap fakes” use conventional technologies such as speeding, slowing, cutting, re-staging or re-contextualizing footage and are far more accessible to the average person.

Deepfakes and cheap fakes exist on a spectrum from highly technically complex, and therefore requiring a lot of technical expertise, to requiring almost no technical expertise. From most technical to least according to Data and Society:

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