TikTok adopts technology to label AI-generated content

The decision comes amid concerns about the potential use of AI-generated content to spread misinformation during the US elections.

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TikTok has announced that it will implement a new technology called ‘Content Credentials’ to label images and videos created by AI on its platform. Developed by Adobe, this digital watermark technology aims to address concerns regarding the authenticity and potential misuse of AI-generated content, particularly in relation to the upcoming US elections.

The Content Credentials technology will attach digital watermarks to indicate how images and videos were created and edited, allowing users to distinguish content produced by humans from AI-generated content. TikTok’s adoption of this technology follows in the footsteps of other companies like OpenAI and is part of a broader effort by tech giants to combat the potential use of AI-generated content for misinformation purposes. YouTube and Meta Platforms, which owns Instagram and Facebook, have also expressed their intention to adopt Content Credentials, even though they already use AI-generated content labelling tools.

For the watermark system to be effective, both the creators of the generative AI tools and the platforms must agree to use the industry standard. For example, if an image is generated using OpenAI’s Dall-E tool, a watermark will automatically be attached to the resulting image. If this marked image is then uploaded to TikTok, it will be labelled as AI-generated content.

Why does it matter?

While TikTok already labels AI-generated content created within its app, this new initiative expands the labelling to content generated outside the TikTok ecosystem. By doing so, TikTok aims to enhance control over disseminating AI-generated material and maintain transparency for its user community.

Furthermore, the decision to regulate the content on its platform comes amid the ongoing legal battle between TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, and the US government. ByteDance has been ordered to divest TikTok due to national security concerns, but it has filed a lawsuit arguing that this requirement violates the First Amendment. This legal dispute adds another layer of complexity to TikTok’s operations and its future in the United States.