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.”