Facebook, Google and Twitter will have to act, and quickly

The European Union has just ordered GAFAM to take their responsibilities in the fight against deepfakes.

After the reign of fake news, the time is now for deepfakes. On social networks, more real-than-life videos featuring public figures are now commonplace. Among the most publicized examples to date, we can cite the deepfakes de Will Smith et Kanye West in Kendrick Lamar’s latest music video, or — more seriously — that of the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky calling for surrender at the start of the Russian invasion.

Technology is evolving to a point where it becomes difficult to differentiate a deepfake from an authentic video. Fortunately, tools make it possible to detect the alterations made to multimedia content, but on social networks, the general public is regularly duped by this type of misleading content. It must be said that the result is often stunning: thanks to artificial intelligence, it is now possible to superimpose the face of a person on the body of another, while retaining their facial expressions and words. Concretely, this allows anyone to say anything and everything.

Europe wants GAFAM to be held accountable

Faced with these ultra-realistic counterfeit videos, Europe fears severe consequences for security and democracy. It is in this context that the old continent published this Thursday, June 16, an update of its Code of Practice Against Disinformation. Initiated in 2018, the text is now adapted to the adoption of the DSA (Digital Service Act), and should come into force in the 27 member countries. Among the new measures, the code aims in particular to hold web giants accountable in the face of online hate and misinformation.

Sanctions against deepfakes

Asked by Reuters, Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market and in charge of the file explains “The DSA provides a legal backbone to the Code of Practice against Disinformation — including heavy and dissuasive penalties“. Concretely, the text provides for new sanction measures against companies that allow deepfakes to proliferate on their platforms.

The Web giants, and more particularly Google, Facebook and Twitter will have to take responsibility for misinformation. In the event of a breach of these new obligations, the sanction could be hefty, and climb up to 6% of global turnover. If this seems relatively little, it is a hell of a sum on the scale of GAFAM. With its 257 billion dollars in turnover recorded in 2021, Google alone risks more than 15 billion dollars in fines.

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