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Op-Ed on DeepFakery: Combatting illegal content, inaccurate information and fake news

Social media creates opportunities for learning but also a potential threat to human rights. Fake news surfaced in electioneering and in South Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the latter, Minister of Communications, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, gazetted requirements for the dissemination of COVID-19 information to citizens.

So, to those of us who are still questioning whether they have fallen prey to fakenews or deepfakes: TIkTOK, DeepArt, Face Swap ring a bell? The reality of ‘deepfakes’ infiltrating every facet of your life has arrived. Deepfakes is a hybrid of “fake” and “deep learning”. Using artificial intelligence known as ‘generative adversarial network’, deepfakes combine and overlay existing content onto source images or videos. If you have distributed enough videos on social media, these perpetrators are able to cut, strip and combine pieces to create a complete new piece of content – featuring you in possibly very ominous situations.

So, what’s the fuss?

  1. Political interference and the erosion of democracy.
  2. Stirring up emotional fault lines that could lead to violence and genocide.
  3. The internet has no firewall for patriarchy1: tools that become weaponized against women.

Globally numerous governments close down deepfake apps. South Africa’s Film and Publication Board (FPB), through its Amendment Act, 2019 and the Cybercrimes and Cyberbullying Bill, criminalises the manufacturing and distribution of malicious communications as a means to provide interim protection measures.

Read more here: fake_news.pdf

Op-Ed on DeepFakery: Combatting illegal content, inaccurate information and fake news

Photo by Film and Publication Board
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Using artificial intelligence known as ‘generative adversarial network’, deepfakes combine and overlay existing content onto source images or videos.

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