Lawmakers say Facebook’s steps to tackle ‘deepfake’ videos not adequate

FILE PHOTO: Stickers bearing the Facebook logo are pictured at Facebook Inc’s F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S., April 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Facebook Inc on Wednesday laid out a series of changes it has made to combat the spread of false information on its website, such as removing “deepfake” and other manipulated videos, but lawmakers said the changes do not go far enough.

A hearing which is underway by the House Energy & Commerce committee marks the latest effort by House lawmakers to probe Facebook’s digital defenses ahead of the 2020 presidential election in November and four years after Russia weaponized the site to spread disinformation during the 2016 race.

Earlier this week, Facebook said it would remove “deepfakes” – which depict people in fake videos – as well as other manipulated videos from its platform if they have been edited, but not content that is parody or satire, in a move aimed at curbing misinformation.

Facebook has been criticized over its content policies by politicians across the spectrum. Democrats have blasted the company for refusing to fact-check political advertisements, while Republicans have accused it of discriminating against conservative views, a charge it has denied.

In the run-up to the November vote, social media platforms have been under pressure to tackle the threat of deepfakes, which use artificial intelligence to create hyper-realistic but fake videos where a person appears to say or do something they did not.

Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Bernadette Baum


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