YouTube’s New AI Labeling Tool


The Gist

  • AI transparency. YouTube is introducing a content label tool that appears on videos when creators indicate that an AI-enhanced video is being shared.
  • Creator responsibility. The tool, a part of its AI content guidelines, requires content creators to disclose altered videos.
  • Misinformation combat. YouTube’s effort is to reduce misinformation and deepfake videos that appear in platform content.

People depend on nutrition labels to understand the nutrients in their groceries. Marketers will soon have a similar experience to identify when a video contains deepfake imagery. Let’s take a closer look at YouTube’s AI Image Labels.

YouTube has launched a labeling tool for its videos that contain AI-created imagery to protect users from being overwhelmed with deepfake images and videos.

A robot director stands next to a director's chair, a camera and cameraman, lighting fixture and an assistant holding a movie clapperboard against a blue back ground in piece about YouTube's New AI Image Labels.
YouTube has launched a labeling tool for its videos that contain AI-created imagery to protect users from being overwhelmed with deepfake images and videos.besjunior on Adobe Stock Photos

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YouTube’s AI Image Labels

YouTube announced that creators must indicate if an uploaded video contains AI-generated imagery. The indicator for YouTube’s AI image labels appears as a response to a question when a creator uploads a new video in YouTube Creator Studio. The upload interface will ask the creator to indicate whether the video contains altered content, specifically asking if any of the following describes their content:

  • “Makes a real person appear to say or do something they didn’t say or do.”
  • “Alters footage of a real event or place.”
  • “Generates a realistic-looking scene that didn’t occur.”

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YouTube’s AI Allowances

There are some allowances that may be beneficial for creators in certain instances, such as briefly using AI-generated images to support a point or explain product features.

The creator indicates with a “Yes” or “No.” When “Yes” is selected, an “altered or synthetic content” label is added to the video description when it is displayed on YouTube or YouTube Shorts.

Systems like YouTube’s AI image labels are getting noticed by business experts who have immersed their expertise in AI. John “Colder ICE” Lawson, CEO at ColderICE Media and ecommerce expert who has spoken frequently on the latest generative AI business trends, noted his appreciation for the guidelines. He stated on his Facebook page, “While AI cloning tools are getting better, the rules are getting stricter. And they should IMHO!…always be transparent that they [images] are AI-generated. Ethical AI use is best.”

Some leeway for creators exists when determining if certain video alterations are inconsequential. No disclosure is required for unrealistic imagery, such as animated images or someone riding a unicorn through a fantastical world and for minor changes such as color adjustment or beauty filters.

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Designed to Support Existing & Future Policies

YouTube’s new AI image labels system is designed to support YouTube’s existing and future policies prohibiting excessively manipulated content. YouTube’s policies aim to prevent misleading viewers with content that poses a serious risk of harm, such as the infamous Tide Pod challenge in 2018. This controversial social media challenge went viral, with teens recording videos of themselves eating a Tide detergent pod and challenging others to do the same. The videos spread across social media, creating a widespread crisis that led Facebook and YouTube to quickly announce they would remove such videos from their platforms.

But that was 2018. 

Related Article: Fighting Deepfakes With Content Credentials and C2PA 


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