/Deepfakes are terrible for democracy, but Facebook is a bigger threat

Deepfakes are terrible for democracy, but Facebook is a bigger threat


This changes everything | Doctored videos are a menace, but we have more to fear from unscrupulous politicians taking advantage of Facebook’s targeted ads, writes Annalee Newitz



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13 November 2019

A campaign sign for Senator Elizabeth Warren

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

PUNDITS in the US are arguing over a technology that is used almost exclusively for elections and pornography. I am referring to deepfakes, videos manipulated with simple apps to swap out faces, distort words and make it look like politicians are starring in hot XXX movies. The fate of deepfakes could change the course of democracy. And that feels very on-brand for the US right now.

Technologists first warned about the power of machine learning to create convincing doctored videos back in 2017. Some deepfakes are so well done that it is impossible to …

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