This week, Facebook announced the results of its first “Deepfake Detection Challenge,” a public competition to find an algorithm that can detect so-called deepfake videos. The winning entry was able to spot these sinister videos with about 65 percent accuracy — a pretty good rate, though far from perfect. The researchers themselves said that much work remains to be done, and that the issue of doctored footage is an “unresolved problem.”
Deepfake technology has caused much fear among experts and advocates, who believe the technology represents the next wave of social media disinformation. However, it hasn’t advanced as quickly as initially thought, and that’s a good thing. As Facebook’s challenge makes clear, the technology for detecting this footage hasn’t advanced very far, either.
“A lesson I learned the hard way over the last couple years, is I want to be prepared in advance and not be caught flat footed, so my whole aim with this is to be better prepared in case [deepfakes] become a big issue,” Facebook chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer said. “It is currently not a big issue but not having tools to automatically detect and enforce a particular form of content, really limits our ability to do this well at scale.”
It’s promising that Facebook was able to get to this point in a matter of months, not years. Now let’s hope the company keeps pushing and doesn’t let deepfake creators surge ahead of them technologically.
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