FILE PHOTO: The Microsoft store is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., June 26, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo


Microsoft announced two technologies Tuesday that the company hopes will stop manipulated photos and videos from spreading on the internet. The goal is to squash the so-called deepfake videos edited to replace the person in the original video with someone else, manipulate mouths from appearing to say something else or alter the original image to, say, make those pictured look older or younger. Microsoft calls this the Defending Democracy program because of election campaigns’ occasional use of this technique, and Microsoft’s goal is to make sure voters get the right information before heading to the booth. 

Microsoft uses a tool called Microsoft Video Authenticator, which can analyze photos or videos to give “a percentage chance, or confidence score, that the media is artificially manipulated,” it wrote in a press release. Twitter and Facebook also put forth efforts to stop the spread of misinformation. There is, however, a concern with how well the new efforts will do against the vastly growing and changing atmosphere of deepfake technology.

According to a new report from the Neustar International Security Council, an elite group of cybersecurity leaders across companies, misinformation is on the rise, stating “Almost half (48%) of cybersecurity professionals regard the increase in misinformation as a threat to the enterprise, with the other half (49%) ranking the threat as ‘very significant’.” 

Some question whether these tech companies should be “policing the internet” especially if it is government-supplied misinformation.


Microsoft launches a deepfake detector tool ahead of US election – TechCrunch – 9/2/2020
The tool, called Video Authenticator, provides what Microsoft calls “a percentage chance, or confidence score” that the media has been artificially manipulated. “In the case of a video, it can provide this percentage in real-time on each frame as the video plays,” it writes in a blog post announcing the tech. “It works by detecting the blending boundary of the deepfake and subtle fading or greyscale elements that might not be detectable by the human eye.”

Microsoft has launched new deepfake-detecting tech ahead of the 2020 election – Business Insider – 9/2/2020
In a blog post on Tuesday, Microsoft announced the launch of a new tool called Microsoft Video Authenticator, which can analyze photos or videos to give “a percentage chance, or confidence score, that the media is artificially manipulated.” For videos, the tool can give a percentage chace in real-time for each frame, it wrote in its press release. 

Microsoft Releases Deepfake Detection Tool Ahead of Election – Bloomberg – 9/2/2020
Microsoft Corp. is releasing new technology to fight “deepfakes” that can be used to spread false information ahead of the U.S. election. “Microsoft Video Authenticator” analyzes videos and photos and provides a score indicating the chance that they’re manipulated, the company said. Deepfakes use artificial intelligence to alter videos or audio to make someone appear to do or say something they didn’t. Microsoft’s tool aims to identify videos that have been altered using AI, according to a Tuesday blog post by the company.

Microsoft is launching new technology to fight deepfakes – Mashable – 9/2/2020
As Microsoft acknowledges in its blog, deepfake technology is constantly becoming more and more sophisticated, which means its AI tool will also need to be kept up-to-date. The ability to add and detect hashes in media is also only as useful as the number of people who actually do it.


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