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YouTube introduces new policy to remove AI-simulated content

YouTube now allows users to request removal of AI-generated content simulating their face or voice. Learn about the process and factors considered.

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Image: YouTube

YouTube has finally rolled out a policy change that lets you request the takedown of AI-generated content that simulates your face or voice.

The change allows people to request the removal of this type of AI content under YouTube’s privacy request process. It’s an expansion of the responsible AI approach they first introduced back in November.

But here’s the catch—simply submitting the request doesn’t necessarily mean the content will be removed. YouTube will make its own judgment about the complaint based on various factors.

For instance, they may consider whether the content is disclosed as synthetic or made with AI, whether it uniquely identifies a person, and whether the content could be considered parody, satire, or something else of value and in the public’s interest.

The company also notes that it may consider whether the AI content features a public figure or well-known individual and whether or not it shows them engaging in “sensitive behavior” like criminal activity, violence, or endorsing a product or political candidate.

The latter is particularly concerning in an election year, where AI-generated endorsements could potentially swing votes.

YouTube says it will also give the content’s uploader 48 hours to act on the complaint. If the content is removed before that time has passed, the complaint is closed. Otherwise, YouTube will initiate a review.

The company also warns users that removal means fully removing the video from the site and, if applicable, removing the individual’s name and personal information from the video’s title, description, and tags.

The company didn’t broadly advertise the change in policy, though in March it introduced a tool in Creator Studio that allowed creators to disclose when realistic-looking content was made with altered or synthetic media, including generative AI.

It also more recently began a test of a feature that would allow users to add crowdsourced notes that provide additional context on videos, like whether it’s meant to be a parody or if it’s misleading in some way.

YouTube is not against the use of AI. It has already experimented with generative AI, including a comments summarizer and conversational tool for asking questions about a video or getting recommendations.

However, the company has previously warned that simply labeling AI content as such won’t necessarily protect it from removal, as it will still have to comply with YouTube’s Community Guidelines.

In the case of privacy complaints over AI material, YouTube won’t jump to penalize the original content creator.

“For creators, if you receive notice of a privacy complaint, keep in mind that privacy violations are separate from Community Guidelines strikes and receiving a privacy complaint will not automatically result in a strike,” a company representative shared on the YouTube Community site.

In other words, YouTube’s Privacy Guidelines are different from its Community Guidelines, and some content may be removed from YouTube as the result of a privacy request even if it does not violate the Community Guidelines.

While the company won’t apply a penalty, like an upload restriction, when a creator’s video is removed following a privacy complaint, YouTube tells us it may take action against accounts with repeated violations.

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Kevin is KnowTechie's founder and executive editor. With over 15 years of blogging experience in the tech industry, Kevin has transformed what was once a passion project into a full-blown tech news publication. Shoot him an email at kevin@knowtechie.com or find him on Mastodon or Post.

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