YouTube explains what is classified as “Altered” or “Synthetic” content


Last November, YouTube announced that channel owners must label videos with artificial intelligence content. That's because generative AI technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated. So, the generated image could sometimes become difficult to distinguish from the real image. Recently, YouTube further clarified which videos should be labelled "Altered" or "Synthetic".

According to YouTube, videos that have been modified, edited or generated do not need to be labelled. Such examples include animations, special effects, filters, lighting effects, fantasy elements and the like. Hence, you might want to watch out for these traits in a video:

  • 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 in reality.
  • Generating realistic scenes: Showing a realistic depiction of fictional major events, like a tornado moving toward a real town.

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Moreover, YouTube mentioned that you don't have to disclose if generative AI was used for productivity, like generating scripts, content ideas, or automatic captions. You also don't have to disclose when synthetic media is unrealistic and/or the changes are inconsequential. These cases include:

  • Clearly unrealistic content, such as animation or someone riding a unicorn through a fantastical world
  • Color adjustment or lighting filter.
  • Special effects like background blur or vintage effects
  • Beauty filters or other visual enhancements

This Altered or synthetic content label will be displayed on the YouTube video player at the front or in the video description. It will first appear on the mobile device app, then on the PC and then on to the television. With this label, you can know whether the video they are watching is true or false.

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