Facebook announced that it is banning "deepfake" videos, fabricated yet realistic clips created with artificial intelligence and advanced tools meant to deceive viewers, as it ramps up efforts to fight online manipulation.
According to The New York Times (NYT), a company executive said on Monday January 6th that the social network will remove artificially altered videos, often dubbed deepfakes, in ways that "would likely mislead someone into thinking that a subject of the video said words that they did not actually say."
While these videos are still rare on the internet, "they present a significant challenge for our industry and society as their use increases," said Facebook's vice president of global policy management, Monika Bickert, according to AP.
Bickert added that the new policy would have a limited impact on slowing the spread of fake videos, as the majority are still edited in more traditional ways.
Notably, the new policy does not prohibit parody or satire. The exceptions emphasise the delicate balance social media services face in their struggle to stop the spread of misinformation and "fake news" while respecting freedom of expression.
Bickert pointed out that all posted videos will still be subjected to the Facebook monitoring system to check for potentially deceptive content.
The Facebook declaration illustrates how the social network, the largest ever in the world, is trying to ramp up its efforts towards stopping the spread of fake media before this year's presidential election.
Misinformation spread heavily on the platform during the 2016 campaign, which resulted in the company being widely criticised.
According to NYT, by banning deepfakes before technology spreads, Facebook is trying to calm lawmakers, academics, and political campaigns who are still frustrated with the company's leniency towards online manipulation efforts.