Twitter will start labeling, and in some cases removing, doctored or manipulated media that users share on the platform beginning next month.
The policy includes deepfake videos that have been edited using artificial intelligence or other advanced software to distort a person’s appearance or speech while appearing to be authentic, as well as other kinds of edited photos and videos that have been “substantially edited,” the company said Tuesday in a blog post.
In some cases, Twitter will label the video or photo so users know it has been doctored, but will let it remain on the social-media network. In other cases, when the content may “impact public safety or cause serious harm,” Twitter said the video or photo is likely to be removed.
Identifying and responding to manipulated media has become a matter of urgency for social media platforms as the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign is under way. There is concern that politicians, or bad actors from outside the established political system, might try to influence public opinion through misleading videos or photos shared on social media.
Twitter’s new “manipulated media” policy, which will take effect March 5, was released more than three months after the company announced it would research and ask the public about various options for handling doctored videos. The company said it settled on a system that looks at content in three ways:
- Was the video or photo “significantly” altered?
- Was it shared “in a deceptive manner”?
- Is it a threat to public safety, or could it cause user harm?
If the answer to either of the first two questions is “yes,” then the media could be labeled with a warning to those who view it, and those who Like or retweet it. If Twitter deems the content could also pose real-world harm, it is likely to be removed, said Del Harvey, Twitter’s head of trust and safety, on a conference call with journalists.
Last May, a doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was shared on Facebook that made it look as though the congresswoman was slurring her speech. Facebook Inc. elected to leave the video on the site despite calls from Pelosi and other politicians to take it down. Facebook eventually labeled the video as fake and cut its distribution, but took more than a day to do so, a delay Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg later called an “execution mistake.”
Under Twitter’s new policy, that same video would also be labeled because it was “significantly and deceptively altered,” said Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of site integrity. It wouldn’t have been removed.