YouTube bans AI-generated content of dead or harmed people

YouTube, the world’s largest video-sharing platform and YouTube has announced that it will ban AI-generated content of deceased minors or victims of violent events. This decision is part of YouTube’s ongoing efforts to combat misinformation and harmful content on its platform.

AI-generated content, also known as deepfakes, is a type of synthetic media that uses advanced algorithms to manipulate images, videos, or audio to create fake or altered representations of people or events. While some deepfakes are used for entertainment or satire purposes, others can be used to spread false or malicious information, impersonate or defame someone, or cause emotional distress to the subjects or viewers. Here are some tips to protect yourself from deepfakes:

Be skeptical and critical of the media you consume online, especially if it is sensational or controversial. Check the source, the date, and the context of the content. Compare it with other reliable sources and look for inconsistencies or anomalies.

Adjust your privacy settings on your social media accounts and use strong, unique passwords. Enable two-factor authentication for extra security. Think twice before sharing personal or sensitive information or media online, as it could be used to create deepfakes of you or your loved ones.

Keep yourself informed about the latest technological developments and the challenges posed by deepfakes. Learn how to spot the signs of a deepfake, such as flickering, distortion, mismatched lip movements, or unnatural voice. You can also use tools or apps that can help you verify or report deepfakes.

Educate yourself and others about the potential harms and ethical issues of deepfakes. Promote media literacy and critical thinking skills among your family, friends, and community. Report any deepfake content that you encounter on social media platforms or websites.

YouTube’s policy update, which was announced on Monday, January 8, 2024, aims to address the potential harms of deepfakes that target vulnerable groups, such as children or victims of tragedies. According to YouTube, such content violates its community guidelines on harassment and cyberbullying, as well as its policies on child safety and violent or graphic content.

YouTube’s spokesperson, Jennifer O’Connor, said in a statement: “We have seen a rise in the use of AI-generated content to create realistic portrayals of deceased minors or victims of violent events, such as school shootings, terrorist attacks, or natural disasters. This content is deeply disturbing and disrespectful to the memory and dignity of those affected. We have decided to remove such content from our platform and take appropriate action against the channels that upload it.”

O’Connor added that YouTube will use a combination of human reviewers and automated systems to detect and remove AI-generated content that falls under the new policy. She also said that YouTube will continue to allow some forms of deepfakes that are clearly labeled as such and do not violate other policies, such as parody, commentary, or educational content.

YouTube’s policy update comes amid growing concerns over the proliferation and impact of deepfakes on social media and online platforms. In recent years, deepfakes have been used to create fake news, political propaganda, celebrity porn, and identity theft. Some experts have warned that deepfakes could pose serious threats to democracy, security, and privacy, as they could undermine trust in information sources, influence public opinion, or manipulate personal data.

However, some advocates of free speech and digital rights have also argued that banning or restricting deepfakes could have negative consequences for artistic expression, innovation, and social justice. They have suggested that instead of censoring deepfakes, platforms should focus on educating users, promoting media literacy, and providing tools to verify and report deepfakes.

YouTube’s policy update is expected to take effect in the next few weeks. YouTube said that it will notify its creators and users about the changes and provide resources and guidance on how to comply with the new rules.

YouTube bans AI-generated content that realistically portrays deceased minors or victims of violent events, as part of its efforts to combat misinformation and harmful content. YouTube said that such content is disturbing and disrespectful, and violates its policies on harassment, child safety, and violent content. It will use human and automated systems to enforce the new policy, which will take effect in the next few weeks. It will still allow some forms of deepfakes that are clearly labeled and do not violate other policies, such as parody or educational content.

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