Deepfakes have come into sharper focus during 2019, and that shows no sings of changing next year, especially with the 2020 US presidential elections set to take place. It’s the reason why California recently banned the creation of deepfakes without consent, and now China has opted for similar approach to the AI-backed technology.

According to Reuters, the Chinese government has outlined a new set of online content rules, highlighting deepfakes and fake news in particular.

To that end it has made the creation of such content, without explicitly disclosing that it is fake, a criminal offence, and looked at AI and VR technology specifically in this regard.

The new rules are set to take effect as of 1st January 2020, with the Cyberspace Administration of China noting that, “With the adoption of new technologies, such as deepfake, in online video and audio industries, there have been risks in using such content to disrupt social order and violate people’s interests, creating political risks and bringing a negative impact to national security and social stability.”

It looks as if this new set of rules will not only impact anyone who creates such content, but also the platforms on which it is posted, which means these companies will also have to take a stricter stance on deepfakes and fake news.

Precisely how China will police and indeed enforce these new rules remains to be seen. It is as unclear what the definitions are in terms of creating fake content about individuals within and outside of China’s borders.

As such there is still some grey area as to someone making a deepfake about a Chinese politician as opposed to an American one, and whether the latter will carry the same severity as the former.

Either way the discourse around deepfakes and fake news shows no signs of dying down in 2020, and whether other states in the US or other countries take a similar approach to such content remains to be seen.

[Image – Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash]
When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.