Facebook and Instagram users will soon see labels on AI-generated images displayed on their social media feeds, as part of a broader initiative within the tech industry to distinguish between authentic and synthetic content.
Meta, the parent company of these platforms, announced that it is collaborating with industry partners to establish technical standards facilitating the identification of AI-generated images, with plans to extend this to video and audio content in the future.
While this effort signals a commitment to addressing the proliferation of fake content online, particularly concerning misinformation and nonconsensual creation of fake imagery, its effectiveness remains to be seen. According to Gili Vidan, an assistant professor of information science at Cornell University, while it may successfully flag a significant portion of commercially produced AI-generated content, it is unlikely to catch everything.
Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, indicated that these labels would be implemented in the coming months and would be available in multiple languages. He emphasized the importance of establishing clarity amongst the blurring line between human-generated and synthetic content, especially during critical global events like elections.
Although Meta currently applies an “Imagined with AI” label to photorealistic images generated by its own tools, the majority of AI-generated content on its platforms originates from external sources. Meta aims to collaborate with various tech companies, including Google, OpenAI, Microsoft, Adobe, Midjourney, and Shutterstock, to label content generated by their tools.
Google, for instance, has announced plans to introduce AI labels on its platforms, including YouTube, to inform viewers when they are viewing synthetic content. However, concerns linger about the potential for platforms to effectively identify AI-generated content from major providers while overlooking content generated with other tools, potentially creating a false sense of security among users.
The success of this initiative will hinge on how effectively platforms communicate the significance of these labels to users, providing clarity on their meaning and reliability.