Prepare, Don’t Panic: Synthetic Media and Deepfakes
This project focuses around the emerging and potential malicious uses of so-called “deepfakes” and other forms of AI-generated “synthetic media” and how we push back to defend evidence, the truth and freedom of expression. This work is embedded in a broader initiative focused on proactive approaches to protecting and upholding marginal voices and human rights as emerging technologies such as AI intersect with the pressures of disinformation, media manipulation, and rising authoritarianism. Read more about our emerging threats work here.
Check out the report based from the “Mal-uses of AI-generated Synthetic Media and Deepfakes: Pragmatic Solutions Discovery Convening”
Twelve things we can do now to prepare for deepfakes
De-escalate rhetoric
and recognize that this is an evolution, not a rupture of existing problems – and that our words create many of the harms we fear.
Recognize existing harms
that manifest in gender-based violence and cyber bullying.
Inclusion and human rights
Demand responses reflect, and be shaped by, a global and inclusive approach, as well as by a shared human rights vision.
Global threat models
Identify threat models and desired solutions from a global perspective.
Building on existing expertise
Promote cross-disciplinary and multiple solution approaches, building on existing expertise in misinformation, fact-checking, and OSINT.
Connective tissue
Empower key frontline actors like media and civil liberties groups to better understand the threat and connect to other stakeholders/experts.
Identify appropriate coordination mechanisms between civil society, media, and technology platforms around the use of synthetic media.
Support research into how to communicate ‘invisible-to-the-eye’ video manipulation and simulation to the public.
Platform and tool-maker responsibility
Determine what we want and don’t want from platforms and companies commercializing tools or acting as channels for distribution, including in terms of authentication tools, manipulation detection tools, and content moderation based on what platforms find.
Shared detection capacity
Prioritize shared detection systems and advocate that investment in detection matches investment in synthetic media creation approaches.
Shape debate on infrastructure choices
and understand the pros and cons of who globally will be included, excluded, censored, silenced, and empowered by the choices we make on authenticity or content moderation.
Promote ethical standards
on usage in political and civil society campaigning.
Resources & analysis

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