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Twitter to ban deepfakes and other deceptive media

Here’s what you need to know.

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Image: KnowTechie

Twitter recently announced plans to start labeling tweets that contain synthetic or deliberately altered media. The new guidelines come in anticipation of the potential barrage of misinformation relating to the upcoming 2020 presidential election. In particular, Twitter, and other social media companies, are looking to tackle the growing threat of “deepfake” videos, which use artificial intelligence to show a person saying or doing something that they never actually did.

New guidelines

Based on the new guidelines, Twitter may do several things if it comes across altered media, including, labeling the tweet “misleading”, providing additional context, removing it from algorithmic recommendation engines, and showing a warning before people retweet it. Videos, deepfakes, and other media deemed capable of causing harm, mass violence, voter suppression, and privacy risks may be deleted altogether.

“Part of our job is to closely monitor all sorts of emerging issues and behaviors to protect people on Twitter,” Del Harvey, Twitter’s vice president of trust and safety, told the press. “Our goal was really to provide people with more context around certain types of media they come across on Twitter and to ensure they’re able to make informed decisions around what they’re seeing.”

Fully-informed Tweeters

The growth of the internet means social media is an increasingly popular news source. 55% of US adults get their news from social media either “often” or “sometimes” — marking an 8% increase from last year. Harvey considers it important people understand the content they’re sharing before they do so. “If somebody doesn’t know that what they’re about to try to share on Twitter is altered, or they’re unaware of that, we want to try to give them that information so that they have the ability to make sure that they’re tweeting what they want to with it,” she said.

Cracking down

Last month, Facebook announced they would ban deepfakes and other manipulated media. However, satirical content and videos edited “solely to omit or change the order of words” will remain. YouTube now intends to remove manipulated content found to pose a “serious risk of egregious harm”. And, TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance, recently banned “misleading information”.

As for Twitter, they haven’t announced a launch date for their new guidelines. But it may not happen any time soon. Last July, the company said it would flag tweets from government officials that violate its rules. Despite many tests, the label has yet to materialize.

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