It is not yet possible to accurately predict the extent of the concrete effect that deepfakes will have on politics and society, but this does not excuse inaction. As highlighted above, neither fake videos nor disinformation are a new phenomenon as such – the novelty is the increasing simplicity of creating such content, its constantly improving quality and its capacity to be disseminated. The presidential elections in the United States in autumn 2020 will undoubtedly prove a good litmus test. Nevertheless, the recommendation here cannot just be “wait and see”. Researchers, technology companies, journalists, governments, and users themselves should make every effort to neutralise the negative impact of fake content.

Explicit regulation & consistent combating

The first step is to implement explicit regulation and strong countermeasures against deepfake pornography, since this is already a widespread phenomenon that causes significant harm to its, mainly female, victims.

Uniform legal regulations on handling manipulated content in the media and on social media platforms are also required. We should not leave it to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other companies to decide what content falls under freedom of expression and what goes beyond it.

This task is the responsibility of legislators and constitutional democracy. However, we should not give in to the temptation to ban deepfakes completely. Besides its risks, the technology opens up promising new opportunities – in education, film and satire, among other things. Technology itself is neutral – it is people who use the technology to either benefit or harm society.

It is not yet possible to accurately predict the extent of the concrete effect that deepfakes will have on politics and society, but this does not excuse inaction. As highlighted above, neither fake videos nor disinformation are a new phenomenon as such – the novelty is the increasing simplicity of creating such content, its constantly improving quality and its capacity to be disseminated. The presidential elections in the United States in autumn 2020 will undoubtedly prove a good litmus test. Nevertheless, the recommendation here cannot just be “wait and see”. Researchers, technology companies, journalists, governments, and users themselves should make every effort to neutralise the negative impact of fake content.

Explicit regulation & consistent combating

The first step is to implement explicit regulation and strong countermeasures against deepfake pornography, since this is already a widespread phenomenon that causes significant harm to its, mainly female, victims.

Uniform legal regulations on handling manipulated content in the media and on social media platforms are also required. We should not leave it to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other companies to decide what content falls under freedom of expression and what goes beyond it.

This task is the responsibility of legislators and constitutional democracy. However, we should not give in to the temptation to ban deepfakes completely. Besides its risks, the technology opens up promising new opportunities – in education, film and satire, among other things. Technology itself is neutral – it is people who use the technology to either benefit or harm society.