Facebook removes profiles created with deep-fake generated faces

As 2020 approaches, the United States public is gearing up for what is set to be a heated political election. However, campaigners are using new technologies to corrupt the run-in.
Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg has been vocal about how his company is trying to clamp down on fake news and political propaganda on his platforms. Photo: Anthony Quintano via Flickr

Fake users may be spreading fake news

CNN reports that Facebook has been removing accounts that hold artificially-generated faces of people who don’t really exist. These profiles are used to trick users as part of a social media campaign to gain political traction.

The posts made by these accounts generally show support for US President Donald Trump. Additionally, they show animosity towards the Chinese government, which has been involved in a well-publicized drama with the current US government.

Facebook has shared that these accounts are linked with Epoch Media Group. This company is behind The Epoch Times, a newspaper that often spreads conspiracy theories. In fact, the group is reported to be the second-largest funder of pro-Trump Facebook advertising after the Trump campaign.

It’s all politics

Despite Facebook’s statements, the publisher of the Epoch Times previously denied its involvement with fake accounts. Nonetheless, Facebook has been busy trying to keep on top of misinformation and political propaganda ahead of the 2020 elections.

Facebook HQ
Facebook is under pressure from those who want more regulation and others who want less. Photo: Marco Paköeningrat via Flickr

The company has been scrutinized for allowing the public to be fooled by fake news. There is also concern that it allowed people to be influenced by political agendas during the last campaign.

Now, technological breakthroughs have brought even more of a threat to a fair campaign. Deepfakes are being used to manipulate politicians and allow viewers to think that the actual figure is involved in the footage. This could sway the election result as many voters may act upon seeing something that wasn’t actually true.

Growing trend

Deepfakes are often used to represent existing people. However, the technology used to form the phenomenon is also being used to create new faces. Companies are also combining artificial intelligence with similar technologies to enhance the believability of the man-made creations.

MarioNETte Images
Companies such as MarioNETte are creating representations of public figures that deeply resemble the real person. reported Photo: HyperConnect via Arxiv

Other social media institutions such as Twitter are also cracking down on the use of Deepfakes. The firm is concerned about its users being implicated by cynical posts using the associated technology.

Altogether, Deepfakes are causing issues on a personal and public level. Social media companies have a duty to uphold the integrity of the content that it enables on its platform.

Billions of people around the world source their information from these platforms. Therefore, if fake accounts continue to post politically-charged content to the general public, the world could make their decisions based on fiction.

What are your thoughts on the emergence of a new wave of fake accounts? Let us know what you think of Facebook’s stance in the comment section.

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