YouTube will soon need videos with artificial intelligence-generated content that might deceive viewers to provide a disclaimer.

Technically modified video that could deceive viewers and “pose a serious risk of egregious harm” has long been forbidden on the Google-owned platform. However, YouTube will now require artists to put labels when they upload anything that contains “manipulated or synthetic content that is realistic, including using AI tools,” according to a new policy update that was revealed on Tuesday.

In the midst of a proliferation of new, consumer-facing generative AI technologies that make it quick and easy to create engaging text, images, video, and music that may frequently be difficult to discern, the policy is intended to help prevent consumers from being deceived by synthetic material.

Only artificial intelligence (AI)-generated or otherwise synthesized “realistic” content will need to have the new labels. As per a blog post by YouTube Vice Presidents of Product Management Jennifer Flannery O’Connor and Emily Moxley, this includes, among other things, films that “realistically depict an event that never happened, or content showing someone saying or doing something they didn’t actually do.” Flannery O’Connor and Moxley stated, “This is especially important in cases where the content discusses sensitive topics, such as elections, ongoing conflicts and public health crises, or public officials.”

Experts in digital information integrity are worried that the development of generative AI tools may cause a surge in the dissemination of false information on social media and the internet. 

The most recent platform to implement guidelines aimed at increasing transparency for AI-generated content is YouTube. Earlier this year, TikTok announced a new label for video developed with artificial intelligence (AI) and required users to identify when content featuring “realistic scenes” was produced or altered using AI. Additionally, Facebook and Instagram’s parent firm Meta announced this week that political marketers will have to declare any usage of artificial intelligence in their advertising.

Artificial intelligence

The launch of a number of new AI-powered tools by YouTube in September to assist content creators in creating videos and expanding their viewership coincides with the platform’s new disclosure policy. For instance, YouTube unveiled tools to assist filmmakers as well as a feature that allows them to add AI-generated video or image backgrounds to vertical videos.

According to a YouTube representative, the ability to attach an AI-generated disclosure label will be introduced to the video submission process and will start to roll out early next year. The labels will normally show up in the description panels of videos; but, they will be more noticeable within the video player for “certain types of content about sensitive topics.” Additionally, clearly labeled content produced using YouTube’s own generative AI capabilities will be provided.

Users who disregard the new guidelines, according to YouTube, will be held responsible. Content removal or suspension from YouTube’s Partner Program, which allows creators to monetarily market their work, are possible punishments for creators who repeatedly neglect to apply the new label on synthetic content that should be reported in accordance with the new rules. The site also stated that content created by artificial intelligence (AI) or synthetic content that deviates from its community guidelines will be removed or restricted in the same way as regular videos.

The removal of artificial intelligence (AI)-generated content mimicing an identifiable individual

YouTube said on Tuesday that users would now be able to use its privacy request mechanism to ask for the removal of artificial intelligence (AI)-generated or other modified content that mimics an identifiable individual, including their voice or face. Concerns over an increase in non-consensual, AI-generated pornographic photos and other content that alters people’s voices and faces have led to this modification.

When determining whether to agree with a user’s removal request, YouTube says it will take into account “a variety of factors,” such as whether the content is satirical or depicts a public person.

The AI-generated music that imitates the voices of particular artists will also be subject to removal requests from the platform’s music partners.

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