As we near close to the 2020 US presidential elections, the issue of deepfakes will become all the more important, and we got a taste of it over the weekend, as a clearly doctored video of Joe Biden surfaced on Twitter showing the democrat endorsing Donald Trump for re-election.
Unsurprisingly the fake video was retweeted by current US president Donald Trump, but Twitter unfortunately acted rather late to the situation, with the platform only tagging it as “manipulated media” 18 hours after it was originally posted.
The use of the tag is something that the firm said it would be doing for deepfakes sometime last year, but this video (pasted below) is the first to receive said tag.
Sleepy Joe💤in St. Louis, Missouri today:
— Dan Scavino (@DanScavino) March 8, 2020
There is just one issue we have with what Twitter has done though, as the manipulated media tag is only visible when the tweeted video appears on a user’s timeline. If you search for and pull up the video separately, no tag appears, which is odd to say the least.
As for why this is the case, Twitter tells Reuters that it’s a bug, and that it is working to fix the problem. How quickly said bug will be addressed though, is unclear, which becomes an important issue considering the original tweeter of the video, Dan Scavino, followed up his message by saying the video was not manipulated.
With more deepfakes likely to surface between now and the start of the presidential elections, it now falls on Twitter to act more swiftly in dealing with such content, especially as it outlined its desire to do so last year.
Whether it can effectively and quickly handle such a task, remains to be seen, but all eyes are on social media platforms like Twitter to deal with the rise of deepfakes, particularly as it pertains to misinformation.