The U.S. House Ethics Committee informed House members Tuesday local time that posting misleading audio or video (also known as deepfakes) on social media that could violate House rules,media outlet The Verge reported. “False images and videos that mislead the public may undermine their voice and be dishonestly reflected in the House of Representatives,” the memo said. “
The memo does not explicitly prohibit House representatives and staffers from posting deepfakes on social media, but it does urge House members to be cautious and to make sure they don’t intentionally mislead others by publishing a sentence.
In May last year, some of the deepfake videos began to be posted on social media, seemingly showing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stuttering or slurring. According to the Washington Post, one of the videos has been viewed more than 2 million times. And the Ethics Committee memo appears to be trying to prevent House members from sharing misleading abysses like Pelosi’s video when it inevitably circulates in the future. However, it is unclear what will happen if members of the House of Representatives post a deliberately misleading deepfake video.
While politicians are trying to solve the “deepfakes” problem from a legislative perspective, social media platforms are also developing new, stricter policies around deepfake. Twitter proposed the Draft Deepfakes policy in November and asked users to investigate to provide their opinions. The company has not announced the final policy or outcome of the investigation.
Facebook banned Deepfakes earlier this month, but this is not a blanket ban – still allowing satire and imitation of Deepfakes. A few days later, Reddit updated its policy to ban impersonation of others on the platform, including deepfakes, but also allowed satire and imitation on its platform. Even the House of Representatives acknowledged in the memo that members of the House of Representatives could contribute to public discourse by imitating and satirizing social media.