The Meta Oversight Committee has determined that a doctored video featuring President Biden is permissible to remain on Facebook.

Key Takeaways from Tech CEOs’ Senate Testimony on Manipulated Media Policy

On February 5, 2024, the CEOs of major tech companies testified before the Senate regarding their policies on manipulated media. The focus was on a highly edited video of President Biden on Facebook, which was determined by an independent body to not violate the company’s policies. However, the panel also criticized the company’s manipulated media policy as “incoherent and confusing.”

The video in question was posted in May 2023 and was edited to make it appear as if President Biden was inappropriately touching his adult granddaughter’s chest. The original video, taken in 2022, showed the president placing an “I voted” sticker on his granddaughter after voting in the midterm elections. The Oversight Board, an independent group that oversees Meta’s content policies, ruled that the video did not violate the company’s policies because it was not altered with artificial intelligence and did not show the president saying or doing anything he did not actually do.

The video was initially reported to Meta as hate speech, but a human content reviewer left it up on the platform. After an appeal to the Oversight Board, the board reviewed the video and ruled that it can remain on the site. However, the board also made non-binding recommendations for Meta to reconsider its current policy on manipulated media. They argued that the policy is “incoherent” and should focus on preventing specific harms, such as incitement to violence or misleading information about voting, rather than how the content was created.

The Oversight Board also recommended that Meta begin labeling manipulated media that does not violate its policies, including manipulated audio and edited videos showing people doing things they did not actually do. They believe this would provide context and allow for greater protection of free expression.

In response to the Oversight Board’s guidance, Meta stated that they are reviewing the recommendations and will respond in a blog format. The board’s co-chair, Michael McConnell, emphasized the need for Meta to calibrate their manipulated media policy to prevent real-world harms and to be clear about what those harms are. He also urged the company to use less restrictive means than removals, such as labeling, to prevent harm caused by misleading content.  

Share This Article
Leave a comment