Twitter moves to curb manipulated content including 'deepfakes'

AFP San Francisco, United States Feb 05, 2020, 05.18 PM(IST)

File photo: Twitter logo Photograph:( Others )

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The policy was announced after Twitter asked for comments last year on ways to reduce "synthetic and manipulated media" on the online platform that could deceive people during election campaigns or provoke violence or physical harm.

Twitter unveiled a plan Tuesday to curb the spread of manipulated content including "deepfake" videos as part of a move to fight misinformation which could result in violence or other harm.

The policy was announced after Twitter asked for comments last year on ways to reduce "synthetic and manipulated media" on the online platform that could deceive people during election campaigns or provoke violence or physical harm.

Also read: Facebook, Twitter block state-sponsored manipulation accounts in the latest crackdown

Twitter, which along with other social platforms has been struggling to respond to concerns over misinformation, said its new policy calls for a mix of warning "labels" for tweets that include manipulated images or video and removal of the tweets.

The move comes amid growing concerns over "deepfake" videos altered using artificial intelligence, along with other kinds of manipulation to deceive social media users.

Twitter vice president of trust and safety Del Harvey said the new policy addresses not only deep fakes but other kinds of manipulation, sometimes described as "shallow fakes" or "cheapfakes."

"This isn't a deep fake rule," she said.

"We want to address any incident where media has been altered or fabricated."

Also see: How viral Chinese app is using deepfake tech to morph faces triggering privacy concerns

The decision on whether to include a label or remove the content will depend on "the likelihood and severity of harm that could result," Harvey said during a call with journalists.

Twitter said in a blog post it would begin enforcing the new policy on March 5, alerting users to manipulated pictures or video, and sometimes offsetting them with links to more information about the subjects.

"You will not be able to deceptively share synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm," group product manager Ashita Achuthan and head of site integrity Yoel Roth said in the blog post.

"In addition, we may label tweets containing synthetic and manipulated media to help people understand the media's authenticity and to provide additional context."

The new rule will apply to politicians and their campaigns, according to Harvey.

Factors Twitter will weigh when deciding what content is deceptively manipulated or outright fabricated will include how heavily it is edited; whether audio has been dubbed over or removed, and whether those pictured are simulations.

Also on the banned content list were threats to privacy or free expression in the form of "stalking or unwanted and obsessive attention; targeted content that includes tropes, epithets, or material that aims to silence someone; voter suppression or intimidation."