Facebook Tested With Deepfake Of Mark Zuckerberg: Company Leaves It Up

from the as-it-should dept

Over the last few weeks there's been a silly debate over whether or not Facebook made the right call in agreeing to leave up some manipulated videos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that were slowed down and/or edited, to make it appear like she was either confused or something less than sober. Some Pelosi-haters tried to push the video as an attack on Pelosi. Facebook (relatively quickly) recognized that the video was manipulated, and stopped it from being more widely promoted via its algorithm -- and also added some "warning" text for anyone who tried to share it. However, many were disappointed that Facebook didn't remove the video entirely, arguing that Facebook was enabling propaganda. Pelosi herself attacked Facebook's decision, and (ridiculously) called the company a "willing enabler" of foreign election meddling. However, there were strong arguments that Facebook did the right thing. Also, it seems worth noting that Fox News played one of the same video clips (without any disclaimer) and somehow Pelosi and others didn't seem to think it deserved the same level of criticism as Facebook.

Either way, Facebook defended its decision and even noted that it would do the same with a manipulated video of Mark Zuckerberg. It didn't take long to put that to the test, as some artists and an advertising agency created a deep fake of Zuckerberg saying a bunch of stuff about controlling everyone's data and secrets and whatnot, and posted it to Facebook-owned Instagram.

And... spoiler alert: Facebook left it up.

“We will treat this content the same way we treat all misinformation on Instagram," a spokesperson for Instagram told Motherboard. "If third-party fact-checkers mark it as false, we will filter it from Instagram’s recommendation surfaces like Explore and hashtag pages.”

This actually is not a surprise (nor should it be). People keep wanting to infer nefarious intent in various content moderation choices, and we keep explaining why that's almost never the real reason. Mistakes are made constantly, and some of those mistakes look bad. But these companies do have policies in place that they try to follow. Sometimes they're more difficult to follow than other times, and they often involve a lot of judgment calls. But in cases like the Pelosi and Zuckerberg manipulated videos, the policies seem fairly clear: pull them from the automated algorithmic boost, and maybe flag them as misinformation, but allow the content to remain on the site.

So, once again, we end up with a "gotcha" story that isn't.

Of course, now that Pelosi and Zuck have faced the same treatment, perhaps Pelosi could get around to returning Zuckerberg's phone call. Or would that destroy the false narrative that Pelosi and her supporters have cooked up around this story?

Oh, and later on Tuesday, CBS decided to throw a bit of a wrench into this story. You see, the fake Zuckerberg footage is made to look as though it's Zuck appearing on CBS News, and the company demanded the video be taken down as a violation of its trademark:

Perhaps complicating the situation for Facebook and Instagram a call late Tuesday from CBS for the company to remove the video. The clip of Zuckberg used to make the deepfake was taken from an online CBS News broadcast. "CBS has requested that Facebook take down this fake, unauthorized use of the CBSN trademark," a CBS spokesperson told CNN Business.

Of course, if Facebook gives in to CBS over this request, it will inevitably (stupidly) be used by some to argue that Facebook used a different standard for disinformation about its own exec, when the reality would just be a very different kind of claim (trademark infringement, rather than just propaganda). Hopefully, Facebook doesn't cave to CBS and points out to the company the rather obvious fair use arguments for why this is not infringing.

Filed Under: content moderation, deep fake, deepfake, mark zuckerberg, nancy pelosi
Companies: facebook, instagram


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2019 @ 4:42am

      Re: Why Real Interact Is Best Option While Choosing Live Chat Se

      How perfect. Someone comes along in an article about content moderation and leaves a spam comment. I, and I'm sure others will as well, flagged it as spam. It will be hidden from wide view, but not actually gone. Most will not bother to read the comment, and those really curious have the option to and form their own conclusions.

      The system really does work.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        murgatroyd (profile), 12 Jun 2019 @ 7:10am

        Re: Why Real Interact Is Best Option While Choosing Live Chat Se

        One thing I've noticed about the comment spammers here is how many of them actually create accounts in order to post their spam. I do see the occasional "drive-by" (anonymous) spam comment, but it seems to be much more common that the spammer will register, post one or two spam comments, and then disappear.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2019 @ 5:25am

    perhaps Pelosi could get around to returning Zuckerberg's phone call.

    The story you link to says she got back to him. Or rather, her staff did. Of course, unless you think that Mark Zuckerberg actually tried to call himself, it might seem like she's not calling him back, but the reality is that someone from facebook called Pelosi's office wanting to speak to her, and she's a busy person. Acting like she's ghosting him like an ex is just more of the same when it comes to how women in business and politics are treated.

    The idea that Mark, who has been dodging hearings all over the world suddenly wants to talk to Pelosi is laughable.

    laughs

    See?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2019 @ 5:56am

      Re:

      but the reality is that someone from facebook called Pelosi's office wanting to speak to her

      The "reality" is that a secretary from facebook called a secretary from Pelosi's office and said (in many more words) "my boss wants to talk to your boss." This is how things work in the professional world: cold calls are almost non-existent, if you want to talk to someone you schedule it beforehand. If you're both important enough to have a secretary, then they schedule it for you. If not, you setup a time yourself over email. It has absolutely nothing to do with gender. Nice try though.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2019 @ 6:36am

    Deep; think, state, fake ... it's all indicative of the deepshit we are all in.

    Thanks a lot to all the deep creeps.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2019 @ 6:53am

    Somebody has to say it

    Bill Posters Will Be Prosecuted!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 12 Jun 2019 @ 7:53am

    some artists and an advertising agency created a deep fake of Zuckerberg saying a bunch of stuff about controlling everyone's data and secrets and whatnot

    Why would they need a deep fake for that, given the sheer quantity of things along those lines that he's legitimately said?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2019 @ 7:54am

    Fair use?

    Wouldn't this video be considered a parody? Not all parody needs to be humorous to be called parody. It could be argued that parody is more often used to make a statement than any other purpose, with or without humor. If this video doesn't qualify as parody then I guess I don't understand what "parody" means.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 12 Jun 2019 @ 10:18am

      Re: Fair use?

      Parody traditionally can only be used as a defence if the infringed material is what is being parodied. Here the parody would be about how Mark Zuckerburg talks (talked) about user data, not about CBS. So the Parody exception would be a poor fit for these facts.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2019 @ 10:51am

    The fox new video was not slowed down or edited. It was cuts of real clips of her speaking. This has been proven frame for frame from the actual clips. To claim the clip from Lou Dobbs is the same is inaccurate and should be corrected.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2019 @ 8:01pm

    Over the last few weeks there's been a silly debate [...]

    Yes, Mike, we know it's silly if anybody dares to criticize Facebook, or even to have an opinion about what Facebook does.

    As you're always explaining to us, all Platforms(TM) should have total freedom to do whatever they want at all times, and anybody who even considers suggesting that anybody else is even entitled to form a belief about whether anything they've done might or might not be completetly optimal is obviously a Communist or something.

    We get it. We all totally agree with you. No reason to keep telling us any more. Really.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 5:10am

    Persecution Complex Epidemic

    Now will the persecution complexes on the left shut the fuck about this obscure slow down video? As if the right's wasn't bad enough already. We really don't need more of this dishonest shit. The last thing anybody sane would say is "Politicians don't have enough control over those who could criticize them."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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