philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


Good morning! Today: Twitter and Facebook won’t remove false Trump campaign ads about Biden, the biggest threat of deepfakes isn’t deepfakes themselves, and India’s failing solar and wind boom. Get your friends to join in the fun: sign up here to get The Download every day. Twitter and Facebook won’t remove false Trump campaign ads about Biden Facebook and Twitter have both refused to remove ads placed by Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, even if the content is false. The news: This week, Joe Biden’s campaign sent letters pleading with Facebook and Twitter to block adverts which promote a debunked claim he coerced Ukraine into firing a prosecutor linked to his son Hunter. But both have said that they won’t remove the adverts, because they don’t break their policies. What are their policies? Last month, Facebook said it will not fact-check politicians’ ads, a stance it has reiterated. In essence it says that, even if the content is false, the fact it is being said by a politician or their campaign, means it is newsworthy and not to be fact-checked. Meanwhile, Twitter said that the ad is “not in violation of our policies,” without clarifying further. Perverse incentives? Facebook earns a lot of money from politicians. Trump’s campaign alone has spent between $1.3 million and $3.8 million since 18 September, according to The Guardian, which took the data from Facebook’s own archive. An almighty mess: With just over a year until the 2020 election, worries over the spread of deliberate misinformation are not going to go away. Facebook’s decision, in particular, to refuse to step in over misleading ads from politicians is likely to only make things worse. The biggest threat of deepfakes isn’t the deepfakes themselves

A surprise: A new report says there are no known instances in which deepfakes have been used in disinformation campaigns. What has been more powerful is the knowledge that they could be used that way. What disinformation actors really want is not for you to question more, but for you to question everything. Read the full story here.

“We firmly believe in supporting a thriving research community around mitigating potential harms from misuses of synthetic media,” Software Engineer at Google Research Nicholas Dufour said in a blog post.

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