Meta ordered to change its “incoherent” fake video policy
Meta’s Oversight Board, an external group reviewing moderation decisions on Facebook and Instagram, ordered Meta to rewrite its “incoherent” rules against fake videos. It started with a manipulated video of President Joe Biden that started circling last year. And as the 2024 presidential election approaches, the Board believes videos like this should go under stricter control.
First uploaded to Facebook in May 2023, the video misleadingly depicted President Biden. The original video shows him and his granddaughter, Natalie Biden, voting in the 2022 midterms. After they voted, the president pinned an “I Voted” sticker on his granddaughter and kissed her on the cheek. Someone edited the clip video and made a very concerning shorter clip. They removed the “I Voted” sticker, added a song with sexual lyrics, and looped the footage to suggest inappropriate behavior.
Despite fake information and a fake and troubling context, Meta reportedly decided to keep the video online. The Board reviewed the case and issued its decision last week. They supported Meta’s decision but criticized its manipulated media policy as “incoherent.”
“As it stands, the policy makes little sense,” said Michael McConnell, Oversight Board co-chair. “It bans altered videos that show people saying things they do not say, but does not prohibit posts depicting an individual doing something they did not do. It only applies to video created through AI, but lets other fake content off the hook.”
McConnell added that manipulated audio is another problem in these videos, calling them “one of the most potent forms of electoral disinformation.” And it’s not just Meta that should change its policy. The particular Biden video has spread on other platforms, like X (formerly Twitter), highlighting the widespread challenge of misinformation. And who knows how many similar videos are out there, faking and distorting various topics and events.
What happens next?
In 2020, Meta created the Oversight Board in response to Facebook’s prolonged scrutiny over the dissemination of disinformation, extremism, and other harmful content across its platforms. The board holds the power to make the final decision regarding the moderation of individual content. However, Meta first has to agree to implement them.
As far as these altered videos go, Meta has only committed to “considering” more comprehensive suggestions for altering Facebook and Instagram’s regulations. Speaking with the BBC, a Meta spokesperson said it was “reviewing” the guidance. “[We] will respond publicly to their recommendations within 60 days in accordance with the bylaws,” Meta’s spokesperson said.
Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.