Britt Paris, an expert on audiovisual manipulation at Rutgers' School of Communication and Information, is available to comment on the implications of Facebook’s ban on deepfakes, as well as the ongoing danger of “cheapfakes.”

“Facebook’s ban is a step in the right direction, though their history suggests it is largely a PR move. Deepfakes are an overhyped problem Facebook can easily solve with A.I. models able to detect the pixel differences between real and doctored videos. A greater threat, not addressed by the ban, is ‘cheapfakes’ – videos that are lightly edited, decontextualized or otherwise presented in a maliciously misleading context,” Paris said.

“Cheapfakes can’t be detected by the sophisticated technologies that can spot a deepfake, but they’ve caused more damage. Cheapfakes have been used to spread false rumors of child kidnapping rings that went viral across the world causing violence and death; to inspire harassment of women, people of color and LGBTQ individuals; and to undermine confidence in political processes,” she said.

Paris has co-authored a report on audiovisual manipulation with Data & Society titled Deepfakes and Cheapfakes: The Manipulation of Audio and Visual Evidence and has authored numerous articles on the subject. She is also an affiliated researcher at Data & Society Research Institute.

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