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Zuckerberg says it's "really important" for Facebook to form deepfake video policy

Instagram head Adam Mosseri on deepfakes
  • Facebook CEO Zuckerberg said his company might have to treat deepfake videos differently from other misinformation such as false news.
  • Speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival, he said such videos are "a completely different category."
  • He left open the possibility that Facebook might ban deepfakes altogether, but that, too, could be problematic.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the social network is evaluating how it should handle "deepfake" videos created with artificial intelligence and high-tech tools to yield false but realistic clips. In an interview at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado on Wednesday, Zuckerberg said it might make sense to treat such videos differently from other misinformation such as false news.

Facebook has long held that it shouldn't decide what is and isn't true, leaving such calls instead to outside fact-checkers. But Zuckerberg said it's worth asking whether deepfakes are a "completely different category" from regular false statements. He said developing a policy about these videos is "really important" as AI technology grows more sophisticated.

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The comments come as Facebook prepares to release details on the company's planned oversight board, which is intended to regulate speech on the 2.7 billion-member social network.

Facebook, like other social media companies, does not have a specific policy against deepfakes, whose potential threat has emerged only in the last couple of years. Company executives have said in the past that it makes sense to look at them under the broader umbrella of false or misleading information. But Zuckerberg is signaling that this view might be changing, leaving open the possibility that Facebook might ban deepfakes altogether.

Doing so, of course, could get complicated. Satire, art and political dissent could be swept up in any overly broad ban, creating more headaches from Facebook.

Other false videos could still get a pass. For instance, the recent altered video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that made her sound like she was slurring her words does not meet the definition of a deepfake.

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In Adam Mosseri's first U.S. TV interview since taking over as head of Facebook-owned Instagram, CBS News' Gayle King on Monday asked him about a deepfake video of Zuckerberg that appears to show him talking about amassing and wielding power by owning people's data on CBS News' streaming platform, CBSN. The real version of the video aired on CBSN in September 2017. Facebook hasn't removed the fake video, despite CBS asserting trademark infringement and asking it to take down the video for copyright violation.

"Well, we don't have a policy against deepfakes currently," Mosseri said. "We are trying to evaluate if we wanted to do that and if so, how you would define deepfakes." He added, "We need to have defined principles, and we need to be transparent about those principles."

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