In a world where digital manipulation is becoming increasingly sophisticated, Meta’s new policy is a crucial step in ensuring transparency and trust in online advertising.
What Happened? Starting January 2024, advertisers on Facebook and Instagram will be required to disclose any significant digital alterations in ads related to social issues, elections, or politics. This move is particularly timely, considering the upcoming general elections in major democracies like India, the US, and the UK in 2024.
Deepfake technology, which uses artificial intelligence to create hyper-realistic videos or images by swapping one person’s likeness with another, has been at the centre of this concern. Unlike simple edits or Photoshop, deepfakes can fabricate content so convincingly that it appears as if individuals are saying or doing things they never did. This technology, while entertaining, harbours the potential for misuse, especially in spreading misinformation or fabricating scenarios.
Why it matters? Meta’s policy aims to curb the spread of such misinformation. Advertisers must now notify users when they digitally alter or modify an ad. Failure to comply will result in the cancellation of the ad, and repeated non-compliance could lead to further penalties. However, minor alterations like size changes, cropping, colour correction, or image sharpening won’t require disclosure.
This policy extends to all users on Instagram and Facebook. Any content that falsely claims someone said something they didn’t or presents misinformation as fact will face repercussions. Google has also implemented a similar policy, mandating disclosure for AI-created images or audio in ads since November 2023.
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As we navigate an increasingly digital world, these policies represent vital steps in safeguarding the authenticity of online content and maintaining the integrity of crucial democratic processes.
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