Deepfakes pose puzzle for Facebook

Agence France-Presse . San Francisco | Published: 14:51, Jun 27,2019

 
 

An AFP journalist views a video manipulated with artificial intelligence to potentially deceive viewers, or deepfake at his news desk in Washington, DC on January 25, 2019. — AFP file photo

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday that the social network platform was struggling to find ways to deal with deepfake videos which have the potential to deceive and manipulate users on a massive scale.
Zuckerberg said, ‘Facebook is trying to determine whether deepfakes are a completely different category of misinformation. There’s a very good case that they are.’
Speaking at an on-stage interview at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, Zuckerberg said that Facebook and others would face a challenge in dealing with deepfakes as they ramp up efforts to eliminate misinformation and that his company was still evaluating what to do.
‘I do think that saying deepfakes are different from misinformation, is a reasonable perspective,’ he said.
‘It is likely sensible to have a different policy and to treat this differently than how we just treat normal, false information on the internet.’
The comments come amid growing concern over deepfakes — which are altered by using artificial intelligence to appear genuine — being used to manipulate elections or potentially spark unrest.
Earlier this month, Facebook’s Instagram network decided not to take down a fake video of Zuckerberg himself, saying the CEO would not get special treatment.
Online platforms have been walking a fine line, working to root out misinformation and manipulation efforts while keeping open to free speech.
Zuckerberg said this is a constant challenge, repeating his position that Facebook should not be an arbiter of truth on the internet.
‘I do not think we want to go so far towards saying that a private company prevents you from saying something that it thinks is factually incorrect to another person,’ he said.
Zuckerberg said Facebook has been stepping up efforts to combat manipulation efforts from governments including Russia but that its options are limited.
‘As a private company, we don’t have the tools to make the Russian government stop,’ he said.
‘We’ve ramped up massively on the security side, but there’s very little that we can do on our own to change the incentives for nation states to act.
That’s something that is a little bit above our pay grade.’
Deepfake — a portmanteau of ‘deep learning’ and ‘fake’ — is a technique for human image synthesis based on artificial intelligence. It is used to combine and superimpose existing images and videos onto source images or videos using a machine learning technique known as generative adversarial network.

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