Facebook is expanding its fact-checking efforts to better detect fake photos and videos, the social network said Thursday. It comes as worries over misinformation campaigns, particularly on the part of foreign actors, increase.
The platform said it’s using AI to flag photo and video content that may be false. That content would then be evaluated by their fact-checkers.
“As we get more ratings from fact-checkers on photos and videos, we will be able to improve the accuracy of our machine learning model,” Antonia Woodford, a project manager at Facebook wrote Thursday. “We are also leveraging other technologies to better recognize false or misleading content. For example, we use optical character recognition (OCR) to extract text from photos and compare that text to headlines from fact-checkers’ articles. We are also working on new ways to detect if a photo or video has been manipulated.”
The emerging danger of deep fake technology is of heightened concern for security experts, and it’s something lawmakers are now waking up to as well. Deep fake video came up repeatedly during a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week, which featured testimony from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
During the hearing, lawmakers grilled Sandberg on what active steps the platform is taking to both detect and combat deep fakes. The issue has been raised repeatedly by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and earlier this summer Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) suggested tech companies could be held legally liable for not removing deep fake videos from their platforms.
For political campaigns, the danger is obvious: sooner rather than later, candidates will be dealing with video of them saying, or doing, something they never said or did. And even in the event there’s a clear way to demonstrate a video is fake, that doesn’t mean it won’t spread rapidly.
Aside from the implications for political campaigns, the potential national security ramifications are real. In a letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Thursday, three members of the House, including Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, recommended U.S. intel agencies increase their focus on deep fakes.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which has also been working on tools to detect deep fakes, announced its first breakthroughs last month.