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Facebook bans deepfake videos ahead of the 2020 election

Facebook bans deepfake videos ahead of the 2020 election

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But the new policy wouldn’t seem to cover the misleading viral Pelosi video

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

With a presidential election campaign underway in the United States, Facebook announced Monday that it has banned manipulated videos and photos, often called deepfakes, from its platforms.

The policy change was announced through a blog post late Monday night, confirming an earlier report from The Washington Post. In the post, Facebook said that it would begin removing content that has been edited “in ways that aren’t apparent to an average person and would likely mislead someone” and are created by artificial intelligence or machine learning algorithms. 

The policy doesn’t cover “parody or satire”

But the policy does include content that is parody or satire, or video that has been edited to remove words or change the order in which they appear, the company said. 

This policy change comes ahead of a House Energy and Commerce hearing on manipulated media that is scheduled for Wednesday. The author of Monday’s post — Monika Bickert, Facebook’s vice president of global policy management — is set to represent Facebook in front of lawmakers at this week’s hearing.

The deepfakes ban comes after an altered video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) went viral on social media platforms last summer. This video was widely viewed on Facebook, and when reached for comment by The Verge at the time, the company said that it did not violate any of the company’s policies. And Monday’s ban against deepfakes doesn’t appear to cover videos like the viral Pelosi clip, either. That video wasn’t created by AI, but was likely edited using readily available software to slur her speech.

Other platforms were also caught in the crossfire following the Pelosi video, including Twitter. In November, Twitter began crafting its own deepfakes policy and requested feedback from users concerning the platform’s future rules. The company has yet to issue any new guidance on manipulated media. 

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