TikTok to Begin Automatically Labeling AI-Generated Images and Videos

TikTok is set to become the first video-sharing platform to notify users if a piece of content was created using artificial intelligence, Forbes reports.

As AI tech evolves at a blistering pace, generating content—once a strenuous task—is now as simple as entering a few text prompts. Copyright be damned, paintings or photographs in the style of any artist and full songs with lyrics and voices that sound indistinguishable from popular musicians are now just keystrokes away.

This technological boom has caused the creator economy to become uneasy over the potential loss of their livelihood as fears loom over AI's potential to replace their jobs. And even if you consider yourself media-savvy, it's impossible at times to distinguish what was created by a human or AI.

To help its users make this distinction and combat misinformation campaigns, TikTok has partnered with the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA) to automatically label AI-generated content on the platform. Labeling will only apply to images and videos at the time of this writing, but TikTok announced in a blog post that audio-labeling is coming at a later date.

"AI enables incredible creative opportunities, but can confuse or mislead viewers if they don’t know content was AI-generated. Labeling helps make that context clear — which is why we label AIGC made with TikTok AI effects, and have required creators to label realistic AIGC for over a year," the company said. "We also built a first-of-its-kind tool to make this easy to do, which over 37 million creators have used since last fall."

C2PA is a non-profit organization comprising members from some of the most influential tech companies in the world, including Adobe, Microsoft, Google and OpenAI.

The labeling will be executed through C2PA's "Content Credentials" technology, which adds metadata to AI-generated content before being picked up by the host platform so a label can be added. TikTok has stated that these credentials will stay attached to the content even if it's downloaded, so if it's uploaded to other platforms, those companies can opt to retain the labels. If more platforms adopt the "Content Credentials" tech, the process of labeling content will ostensibly supercharge over the web considering the many sources of transparent metadata.

"At a time when any digital content can be altered, it is essential to provide ways for the public to discern what is true," said Dana Rao, General Counsel and Chief Trust Officer at Adobe. "Today’s announcement is a critical step towards achieving that outcome."

TikTok also acknowledged that despite adding a label, some users may not readily understand what it means. The company said they're implementing "media literacy campaigns" to inform its users about misinformation and AI-generated content.

TikTok and Universal Music Group recently ended their licensing dispute, which muted millions of songs on the platform. A crucial component of the pact was TikTok's commitment to combating unauthorized, AI-generated music that infringed on the rights of its artists."

[TikTok and UMG] will work together to ensure AI development across the music industry will protect human artistry and the economics that flow to those artists and songwriters," UMG said at the time.

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