YouTube rolls out labeling for ‘realistic’ AI content

In this new age of artificial intelligence, platforms worldwide have seen a rise in AI-generated content. To help viewers better understand if what they’ve watched has been created by a human or otherwise, YouTube has outlined some new disclosures.

Shared via a blog post published yesterday (Mar. 18) on the YouTube Official Blog, a new tool has been released.

In the Creator Studio, people should now disclose to viewers when realistic content is made with altered or synthetic media, including generative AI.

These disclosures will appear as labels that will be visible in the expanded description or on the front of the video player. YouTube says this applies to “content a viewer could easily mistake for a real person, place, or event…”

The labeling won’t apply to all AI videos though, as the platform says: “We’re not requiring creators to disclose content that is clearly unrealistic, animated, includes special effects, or has used Generative AI for production assistance.”

Some examples of videos that require disclosure include:

  • Using the likeness of a realistic person: Digitally altering content to replace the face of one individual with another’s or synthetically generating a person’s voice to narrate a video.
  • Altering footage of real events or places: Such as making it appear as if a real building caught fire, or altering a real cityscape to make it appear different than in reality.
  • Generating realistic scenes: Showing a realistic depiction of fictional major events, like a tornado moving toward a real town.

They intend for this to ‘strengthen transparency with viewers and build trust between creators and their audience.’

When will the labels be rolled out

The labels are said to be rolled out across all YouTube surfaces and formats in the week ahead. This will begin with the YouTube app and then on desktop and TV.

While creators will be the ones responsible for correctly marking their videos, the online video-sharing platform says in the future “we’ll look at enforcement measures for creators who consistently choose not to disclose this information.

“In some cases, YouTube may add a label even when a creator hasn’t disclosed it, especially if the altered or synthetic content has the potential to confuse or mislead people.”

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Sophie Atkinson