Regulating AI Deepfakes and Synthetic Media in the Political Arena

Report by Daniel Weiner and Lawrence Norden: “…Part I of this resource defines the terms deepfakesynthetic media, and manipulated media in more detail. Part II sets forth some necessary considerations for policymakers, specifically:

  • The most plausible rationales for regulating deepfakes and other manipulated media when used in the political arena. In general, the necessity of promoting an informed electorate and the need to safeguard the overall integrity of the electoral process are among the most compelling rationales for regulating manipulated media in the political space.
  • The types of communications that should be regulated. Regulations should reach synthetic images and audio as well as video. Policymakers should focus on curbing or otherwise limiting depictions of events or statements that did not actually occur, especially those appearing in paid campaign ads and certain other categories of paid advertising or otherwise widely disseminated communications. All new rules should have clear carve-outs for parody, news media stories, and potentially other types of protected speech.
  • How such media should be regulated. Transparency rules — for example, rules requiring a manipulated image or audio recording to be clearly labeled as artificial and not a portrayal of real events — will usually be easiest to defend in court. Transparency will not always be enough, however; lawmakers should also consider outright bans of certain categories of manipulated media, such as deceptive audio and visual material seeking to mislead people about the time, place, and manner of voting.
  • Who regulations should target. Both bans and less burdensome transparency requirements should primarily target those who create or disseminate deceptive media, although regulation of the platforms used to transmit deepfakes may also make sense…(More)”.