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As camera apps are becoming more sophisticated, the artificial intelligence-based technology to create fabricated digital content is becoming increasingly accessible to the masses, allowing anyone who has a computer and access to the Internet to create false videos that look very real, also known as “ deepfakes .”

These manipulated videos and images are causing massive policy, technology, and legal challenges because they make millions of people who see them on the internet believe what/who they are seeing is real when it is not.

These deepfakes are especially dangerous in times of elections or when public reputation is crucially important since fabricated content can make a public figure appear to say or do things that never actually occurred, propagating misinformation and destroying reputations.

Large social media networks and tech companies such as Facebook and Microsoft have taken initiatives to detect and remove deepfake videos. The two companies announced earlier this year that they will be collaborating with top universities across the U.S. to create a large database of fake videos for research, Reuters reported.

Recently, Microsoft launched a deepfake detection tool that can be used to spread false information ahead of the US election.

The tool, called “Microsoft Video Authenticator”, analyzes videos and photos and provides a score indicating the chance that they’re manipulated, the company said.

The tool will benefit campaigns and newsrooms, according to Tom Burt, a company vice president.

“This will be a long-term effort, but we hope to have an impact in the lead-up to November,” he said in a statement.

The digital tool works by detecting features that are unique to deepfakes but that are not necessarily evident to people looking at them. These features – “which might not be detectable to the human eye” – include subtle fading and the way boundaries between the fake and real materials blend together in altered footage.

The tool will initially be available to political and media organizations “involved in the democratic process,” according to the company.

A second new Microsoft tool will allow video creators to certify that their content is authentic and then communicate to online viewers that deepfake technology hasn’t been used, based on a Microsoft certification that has “a high degree of accuracy,” the post said.

Viewers can access this feature through a browser extension.


What ‘deepfakes’ are and how they may be dangerous

Facebook, Microsoft launch contest to detect deepfake videos

New Steps to Combat Disinformation

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