YouTube to Require Creators to Flag AI-Generated Content, Will Add New Ways to Request Removal of Deepfakes Including Music Videos That Mimic an Artist’s Voice

YouTube wants to let creators tap into the power of artificial intelligence. But it’s also putting in place new policies requiring creators to indicate when they’ve uploaded AI-generated content — and the video giant also will adopt new ways to request that content that “simulates an identifiable individual” or “mimics an artist’s unique singing or rapping voice” get pulled down.

Within the next few months, YouTube said, it will introduce “updates that inform viewers when the content they’re seeing is synthetic.” As part of that, the video platform will require creators to disclose when they’ve created altered or synthetic content that is realistic, including using AI tools.

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YouTubers who flout the new rules will face repercussions: “Creators who consistently choose not to disclose this information may be subject to content removal, suspension from the YouTube Partner Program [for ad-revenue sharing], or other penalties,” Jennifer Flannery O’Connor and Emily Moxley, VPs of product management at YouTube, wrote in the blog post Tuesday.

YouTube will label AI-generated content in two areas: in the description panel, indicating that some of the content is “altered or synthetic”; and more prominently in the video player for certain types of content about “sensitive topics.” The YouTube execs noted that warnings labels for AI-generated content are “especially important in cases where the content discusses sensitive topics, such as elections, ongoing conflicts and public health crises, or public officials.”

In addition, YouTube said, it will make it possible for users to request the removal of AI-generated or other synthetic or altered content that simulates an identifiable individual — including their face or voice — using YouTube’s privacy request process. “Not all content will be removed from YouTube, and we’ll consider a variety of factors when evaluating these requests,” O’Connor and Moxley noted. Such factors may include whether the content is parody or satire; whether the person making the request can be uniquely identified; or whether it features a public official or celebrity, “in which case there may be a higher bar.”

For music partners, YouTube will add the ability to request the removal of AI-generated music content that mimics an artist’s unique singing or rapping voice, O’Connor and Moxley wrote. That will be available to music labels and distributors who rep artists participating in YouTube’s early AI music experiments. In determining whether to grant a removal request, YouTube will consider such factors as whether content “is the subject of news reporting, analysis or critique of the synthetic vocals,” according to the execs.

“We’re in the early stages of our work, and will continue to evolve our approach as we learn more,” O’Connor and Moxley wrote.

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