Meta says AI-generated election content is not happening at a “systemic level”

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Meta has seen strikingly little AI-generated misinformation around the 2024 elections despite there having been major elections in countries such as Indonesia, Taiwan, and Bangladesh, said the company’s president of global affairs Nick Clegg on Wednesday. 

“The interesting thing so far—I stress, so far—is not how much, but how little AI-generated content [there is],” said Clegg during an interview at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech Digital conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  

“It is there; it is discernible. It’s really not happening on … a volume or a systemic level,” he said. Clegg said Meta has seen attempts at interference in, for example, the Taiwanese election, but that the scale of that interference is at a “manageable amount.” 

As voters will head to polls this year in more than 50 countries, experts have raised the alarm over AI-generated political disinformation and the prospect that malicious actors will use generative AI and social media to interfere with elections. Meta has previously faced criticism over its content moderation policies around past elections—for example, when it failed to prevent the January 6 rioters from organizing on its platforms. 

Clegg defended the company’s efforts at preventing violent groups from organizing, but he also stressed the difficulty of keeping up. “This is a highly adversarial space. You play Whack-a-Mole, candidly. You remove one group, they rename themselves, rebrand themselves, and so on,” he said. 

Clegg argued that compared with 2016, the company is now “utterly different” when it comes to moderating election content. Since then, it has removed over 200 “networks of coordinated inauthentic behavior,” he said. The company now relies on fact checkers and AI technology to identify unwanted groups on its platforms. 

Earlier this year, Meta announced it would label AI-generated images on Facebook, Instagram, and Threads. Meta has started adding visible markers to such images, as well as invisible watermarks and metadata in the image file on images. The watermark will be added to images created using Meta’s generative AI systems ...

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