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Artists Create 'Deepfake' Video Of Mark Zuckerberg To Gauge Facebook Response

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- Three weeks after refusing to delete a doctored video of Nancy Pelosi, a pair of artists have uploaded a "deepfake" video of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to Instagram, directly challenging the company's previous policy not to remove such videos.

The deepfake is the brainchild of artists Bill Posters and Daniel Howe, made in partnership with an advertising company, and shows a computer generated image with an impersonator voicing Zuckerberg.

"Imagine this for a second: One man, with total control of billions of people's stolen data, all their secrets, their lives, their futures. I owe it all to Spectre. Spectre showed me that whoever controls the data controls the future," he says in the video.

The altered video was made from a 2017 address Zuckerberg made about Russian election interference. The video features graphics branding from CBSN, KPIX 5's sister network.

A CBS spokesperson says they have requested Facebook take down the video, as it displays "an unauthorized use of the CBSN trademark."

On May 25, a conservative Facebook page posted a video of Nancy Pelosi, but slowed the video down and adjusted the tone to make the Speaker of the House sound intoxicated. The video drew widespread outrage on the left, including from Pelosi herself.

But Facebook refused to delete the video, instead saying it would "de-prioritize" the video and suppress it from showing up in news feeds and search results. A cursory scan of Facebook shows the Pelosi video is difficult to find and the original video has been removed, though it's not clear by whom.

Facebook told KPIX 5 the Zuckerberg deepfake does not violate their policy.

"We will treat this content the same way we treat all misinformation on Instagram. If third-party fact-checkers mark it as false, we will filter it from Instagram's recommendation surfaces like Explore and hashtag pages," a statement from Facebook read.

It appears Facebook's algorithm and suppression efforts are working for the Zuckerberg deepfake. A search showed a handful of videos with only several hundred views each, and the original post on Instagram had fewer than 70,000 views.

"Their response to most of these is, 'It's not a violation of our policies.' And so my question is, 'Do you have the right policies?'" said Don Heider, executive director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

Heider said Facebook should take heed of YouTube's policy change announcement last week in which the site said it is deleting videos promoting hate speech.

"What are they accomplishing by simply taking it out of the news feed? If they don't want people to see the video because they know it's fake, they know it's doctored, they know it's misinformation, why not just take it down?" said Heider.

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