Reddit cracks down on 'deepfake' pornography

It's just the latest platform to boot porn created with AI that grafts a person's face into the real thing.

Erin Carson Former Senior Writer
Erin Carson covered internet culture, online dating and the weird ways tech and science are changing your life.
Expertise Erin has been a tech reporter for almost 10 years. Her reporting has taken her from the Johnson Space Center to San Diego Comic-Con's famous Hall H. Credentials
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Erin Carson
2 min read

Reddit has new rules about involuntary pornography. 

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Reddit community members who use artificial intelligence software to insert another person's face into pornographic videos and images without consent are no longer welcome on the platform.

The site introduced new rules Wednesday banning what is calls involuntary pornography.

The new rule encompasses any video or image showing a person naked or in a sexual act that appears to have been posted without their permission. The policy calls out anything posted for the "specific purpose of faking explicit content or soliciting 'lookalike' pornography." That would include these AI face porn mashups, known as deepfakes, which frequently target celebrities.

"Reddit strives to be a welcoming, open platform for all by trusting our users to maintain an environment that cultivates genuine conversation," the social media site said in a statement, also noting that communities and users focused on posting this sort of content will be banned.

Deepfakes are another instance of unforeseen ethical concerns in the rapidly-developing AI field. A December report from Vice property Motherboard described the creation of such an algorithm to produce similar images and videos as being relatively easy for someone with a little tech savvy. Though celebrities' faces are being used in many deepfake videos, the technology also has implications in the realm of revenge porn, which refers to revealing or intimate photos or videos shared on social networks without consent.

The deepfakes subreddit, which has seen a spike in attention, was banned Wednesday under the policy update.

Reddit isn't the only platform cracking down. Pornhub confirmed to CNET that it banned deepfakes this week. And Twitter reportedly did so too. Twitter didn't immediately respond to a request for confirmation.

"Users have started to flag content like this and we are taking it down as soon as we encounter the flags," said Pornhub Vice President Corey Price in a statement.  

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