Fri, Jun 28, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Deepfake flag delay was ‘mistake’

Reuters

Facebook Inc chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday said that his social media company took too long to flag as false an altered video of US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi that appeared to show her slurring and tripping through a speech.

Zuckerberg, speaking at a conference in Aspen, Colorado, said that the slow response was “an execution mistake on our side.”

The video, a type of realistic alteration known as a “deepfake,” was slowed to make Pelosi’s speech seem slurred and edited to make it appear that she repeatedly stumbled over her words.

After the video surfaced last month, it was widely shared on Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube.

YouTube took down the video, citing policy violations, but Facebook did not remove the clip, only limiting its distribution and telling users trying to share it that it might be misleading.

“It took a while for our system to flag the video and for our fact-checkers to rate it as false ... and during that time it got more distribution than our policies should have allowed,” Zuckerberg said.

Pelosi criticized Facebook’s refusal to remove the video and said that the incident had convinced her the company knowingly enabled Russian election interference.

Misinformation through altered videos is a rising concern in the run-up to next year’s US presidential election, especially as artificial intelligence (AI) is being used to produce clips that look genuine and realistically appear to show people saying words they have not spoken.

After the Pelosi video, Zuckerberg himself was portrayed in a spoof deepfake video on Instagram in which he appears to say “whoever controls the data controls the future.”

Facebook, which owns Instagram, did not to take down the video.

Zuckerberg said that Facebook is considering developing a specific policy on deepfakes.

“This is a little bit of sausage-making here, because we are going through the policy process of thinking through what the deepfake policy should be,” he said. “This is certainly an important area as the AI technology gets better.”

However, Zuckerberg said that a lack of action by US authorities on fake political content on the platform after the 2016 US election helped pave the way for a subsequent avalanche of online disinformation.

He also called on governments to further regulate private data and political advertising, and step up efforts to prevent state actors from interfering in US elections.

“As a private company we don’t have the tools to make the Russian government stop... Our government is the one that has the tools to apply pressure to Russia,” he said.

Additional reporting by AFP

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