The Deepfake.

In our tech-based world, we’ve got a lot to wrap our heads around. From keeping up with new API’s, social platform updates, emerging apps…it’s a lot, even for us at FIG.

The world around us is evolving at an insane rate, so we try to do our best to keep you in the loop.

Intro the deepfake. Now, this isn’t a new term to most, but in case you’ve never heard it before, a deepfake is artificial intelligence being put to work to alter and/or create video of a human saying something they never said. It’s done by layering existing images and videos that are synthesized together, creating an AI-generated video. We hope you can see how this can be problematic.

But, let’s Fig It Out and break this down. Social media is a huge news source for many people. It’s incredible because we can send and receive news all day, every day, at any hour. The downside, of course, is that malicious content can also spread as fast. The rise of deepfakes in 2017 presented a new challenge. How do we deal with manipulated content?

Well, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube long ago decided that it was not their place to decide what is true and what may not be. And it’s an admirable stance. However, fast forward to today, and these deepfakes can be seriously detrimental to political campaigns, reputations, IPO’s…the list goes on.

So why the sudden interest in deepfakes again? Well, earlier this week a deepfake surfaced of Facebook bossman Mark Zuckerberg and it was seriously dark. Obviously, Facebook didn’t remove the video, because they have to stay true to what they were preaching.

Instead, the social media giant took a different route and it’s one they use when it comes to all potentially manipulated content. Essentially, if Facebook determines any content to be falsified, they hide it deep within the network and limit the reach so it appears less in timelines, which means less people see it.

The question is - is that enough? Should these social networks do more?

Congress held their first hearing on the topic on Thursday. Looking ahead, the development of deepfakes could pose a huge threat to the 2020 elections. Can you imagine the political sabotage this type of AI could wreck on the campaign trail?

We’re not sure what’s going on with creating any protective steps, but we’ll keep a close eye on how this pans out and, of course, we’ll keep our FIG fam updated.