Instagram will leave up deepfake video of Mark Zuckerberg

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A deepfake video of Mark Zuckerberg was uploaded to Instagram earlier this week, as first reported by Motherboard, leading to heated speculation as to how the company would react to apparent defamation against its founder and CEO. But according to a spokesperson, Facebook will not be removing the video, following the same policy applied to a distorted, viral video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi only a few weeks ago.

“We will treat this content the same way we treat all misinformation on Instagram,” a spokesperson told The Verge. “If third-party fact-checkers mark it as false, we will filter it from Instagram’s recommendation surfaces like Explore and hashtag pages.”

The Zuckerberg deepfake isn’t that convincing; the voice is muddled and makes him sound even more robotic than normal as his likeness is manipulated into saying words he has never said. The original clip comes from a seven minute video of Zuckerberg from 2017 describing Russian interference on Facebook.

In the deepfaked video, his likeness says, “Imagine this for a second: One man, with total control of billions of people’s stolen data, all their secrets, their lives, their futures,” it continues,”I owe it all to Spectre. Spectre showed me that whoever controls the data, controls the future.”

Late last month, Facebook’s decision to leave up a false video of Nancy Pelosi edited to make her appear drunk caught criticism after it went viral on the platform. At the time, Facebook added a few disclaimers directing users to resources debunking the clip, but refused to remove it. Shortly after, Neil Potts, Facebook’s director of public policy, testified before Congress and told lawmakers that the company would follow this same policy if a deepfaked video of Zuckerberg appeared on one of its platforms as well.

According to a Washington Post report, Zuckerberg has attempted to contact Speaker Pelosi to explain his decision. So far, Pelosi has declined to return his calls.

Update 6/11/19 9:42 p.m.: CBS requested that Facebook take down the video due to the “unauthorized use of the CBSN trademark.”


Facebook is clearly not able to make obvious choices in regards to moderation. It’s clear they’re more interested in engagement than the actual integrity of the platform. Break Facebook up.

Otacon: Snake? SNAAAAAKKKEEEE!!!

Nvm. Spectre isn’t a mgs reference..

…it’s james bond, right?

It’s not really a great reference. First thing I thought of was the CPU vulnerability. Why don’t they just make him say what he really does,

"We at Facebook track everything you read, watch, and comment on, on Facebook and beyond, and therefore learn what you like and dislike, and then we sell that information to whoever will pay us good money for it… Enjoy!"

I was going to say "at least they’re consistent" but honestly this just seems like a strange decision to follow up a bad decision…

I think I agree with Facebook here. If they take down these two deepfake videos it sets a policy that deepfake videos will be removed from the platform. That leads to…

  • Complaints that they did not remove a certain deepfake video
  • Requests to remove videos that are not deepfakes but are just something the subject wishes they had not done
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