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Twitter wants your feedback on its proposed deepfakes policy

Enlarge / A Twitter logo displayed on a smartphone.Rafael Henrique | SOPA Images/LightRocket | Getty Images

A lie has always been able to travel faster than the truth, and that goes double on Twitter, where a combination of bad human choices and bad-faith bots amplifies false messaging almost instantly around the world. So what should a social media platform do about it?

The question is not rhetorical. Twitter is trying to come up with a policy for handling "synthetic and manipulated media," the company said in a blog post today, and it wants your input.

That's Twitter's term for what most of us would call fakes, deep or otherwise. "We propose defining synthetic and manipulated media as any photo, audio, or video that has been significantly altered or fabricated in a way that intends to mislead people or changes its original meaning," Twitter Trust and Safety VP Del Harvey wrote.

Whats the proposal?

As many companies in many industries have done before it, Twitter is trying to thread a very careful needle. It doesn't want to remove content, so it's proposing something of a warning label—as on a pack of cigarettes, perhaps, similar to a recent Facebook proposal.

In the face of manipulated content designed to manipulate people, Twitter says, it may:

  • place a notice next to Tweets that share synthetic or manipulated media
  • warn people before they share or like Tweets with synthetic or manipulated media; or
  • add a link – for example, to a news article or Twitter Moment – so that people can read more about why various sources believe the media is synthetic or manipulated.

The company also says it will consider deletion of a tweet including faked media that "could threaten someone's physical safety or lead to other serious harm," but it does not define what might fall within the category of "serious harm."

You can provide feedback on the proposal through this survey, which does include the option to provide open-ended comments near the end. The company is also soliciting partners to help it develop detection tools for faked media.

Not a day too soon

True deepfakes might still be relatively rare, but doctored video and fake pictures Photoshopped together are all too common. The issue of what to do about them hit the spotlight in May when a video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that was heavily modified to make her appear drunk hit the Internet. YouTube pulled the clip, but Twitter and Facebook Read More – Source

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