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Twitter is trying to figure out how to handle deepfakes

CNET logo CNET 11/12/2019 Shelby Brown
Barack Obama, Jordan Peele are posing for a picture © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.

Twitter is creating a plan to get ahead of deepfake technology that could spread on the social media platform. The company plans to enact new rules to help protect users against deliberate attempts to mislead people through manipulated media, Del Harvey, its vice president of trust and safety, wrote in a Monday blog post

In the post, Harvey included a draft of what actions Twitter plans to take going forward when "synthetic and manipulated media" are used to mislead or confuse people. Deepfakes are video forgeries that make people appear to do or say things they didn't do or say in reality. They use a type of facial recognition technology to layer identities so intricately that you don't suspect falsehood. 

Twitter might place a notice next to tweets that share deepfakes, warn people before they share or like tweets that are deepfakes, and add links to news articles or Twitter Moments so that users can read about why various sources believe the item is a deepfake, according to the post.

a close up of a logo: Angela Lang/CNET © CNET Angela Lang/CNET Deepfakes caught the attention of Congress last year, and a bipartisan group of House members penned a letter urging lawmakers to take the machine learning-powered forgeries seriously and stop them.  

The letter came on the heels of nation states' continued efforts to spread misinformation on social media, whether it's through spreading hoaxes and fake outrage or posing as activist groups. A video from BuzzFeed and filmmaker and actor Jordan Peele demonstrated how easy it is to forge a convincing video of former US President Barack Obama. 

This past October, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two bills into law that helped put the brakes on deepfakes -- AB 730, which makes it illegal to distribute manipulated videos that aim to discredit a political candidate and deceive voters within 60 days of an election, and AB 602, which gives Californians the right to sue someone who creates deepfakes that place them in pornographic material without consent. 

Users can give Twitter feedback in a survey, which closes Nov. 27, or with the hashtag #TwitterPolicyFeedback. Twitter had no further comment on the news.


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