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TikTok to label AI-generated content from OpenAI and elsewhere

Photo of TikTok
TikTok logo is seen in this illustration taken, June 2, 2023. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File photo)
By Stephen Nellis | REUTERS

TikTok plans to start labeling images and video uploaded to its video-sharing service that have been generated using artificial intelligence, it said on Thursday, using a digital watermark known as Content Credentials.

Researchers have expressed concern that AI-generated content could be used to interfere with U.S. elections this fall, and TikTok was already among a group of 20 tech companies that earlier this year signed an accord pledging to fight it.

The company already labels AI-generated content made with tools inside the app, but the latest move would apply a label to videos and images generated outside of the service.

“We also have policies that prohibit realistic AI that is not labeled, so if realistic AI (generated contents) appears on the platform, then we will remove it as violating our community guidelines,” Adam Presser, head of operations and trust and safety at TikTok, said in an interview.

The Content Credentials technology was spearheaded by the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity, a group co-founded by Adobe, Microsoft and others, but is open for other companies to use.

It has already been adopted by the likes of ChatGPT creator OpenAI.

YouTube, owned by Alphabet’s Google, and Meta Platforms, which owns Instagram and Facebook, have also said they plan to use Content Credentials.

For the system to work, both the maker of the generative AI tool used to make content and the platform used to distribute the contents must both agree to use the industry standard.

When a person uses OpenAI’s Dall-E tool to generate an image, for example, OpenAI attaches a watermark to the resulting image and adds data to the file that can later indicate whether it has been tampered with.

If that marked image is then uploaded to TikTok, it will be automatically labeled as AI-generated.

TikTok, which is owned by China’s ByteDance, has 170 million users in the U.S., which recently passed a law requiring ByteDance to divest TikTok or face a ban. TikTok and ByteDance have sued to block the law, arguing it violates the First Amendment.

Editor’s Note: Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; editing by Diane Craft and Jan Harvey

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