China steps up efforts to ban deepfakes. Will it work? – Rest of World

Source : Rest of the world

Beijing’s efforts to rein in the power of tech companies stepped up last week, when four top internet regulators issued new rules on the use of algorithms — the technology that drives popular products like ByteDance’s news aggregator Toutiao and microblogging site Weibo. China’s regulations — the first of their kind anywhere — are a direct attempt to blunt algorithms’ influence over user behavior, a trend troubling governments the world over.

One part stands out as ambitious, and untested. Under the new rules, social platforms like Douyin, China’s version of TikTok, are forbidden from including “synthetic” content in their recommendations. The phrase used in Chinese, “合成虚假新闻信息,” is a catch-all term that refers to false information, fake news — and deepfakes, all of which are notoriously difficult for those same platforms to detect and eliminate.

In the U.S. and other jurisdictions, there is little recourse for harms perpetrated by deepfakes, and existing laws largely put responsibility onto the creators for uploading fake content, which protects companies like Facebook and Twitter.

China’s new rules turn that responsibility on the platforms. Effective from March 1, the rules apply to internet platforms that use recommendation algorithms in China.

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