View from YouTube: Disclose AI-Created Content

Written by Jonathan Baker

Among questions and issues surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) is confusion and worry over whether content has been altered or even created by this fast-growing technology. Enter YouTube, which has taken action over these concerns.

Full disclosure about AI

Along with being a popular video sharing and social media site, YouTube may go down in history for proactively addressing the use—and misuse—of (AI). The platform has activated a disclosure mandate that requires any creator to state upfront if his or her videos have any AI-generated content. Time will tell if other sites will follow YouTube’s example.

The declaration from YouTube

In Search Engine Journal, Matt G. Southern further detailed YouTube’s full disclosure policy. A lot of concern centers on users who want to know exactly the type of content they are viewing, as stated in the platform’s announcement:

“Viewers increasingly want more transparency about whether the content they’re seeing is altered or synthetic.”

Does YouTube’s statement sound familiar?

Interestingly, this mindset parallels Google’s decision to discontinue third-party tracking (or “cookies”) in favor of adopting first-party data marketing strategies. Both cases have—as the quote from YouTube states—transparency at their foundations. This is especially relevant as far as AI is concerned, where imagery that’s real may become blurred with anything AI-generated. YouTube is making the right move.

What will content creators who use AI have to disclose?

Creators may superimpose a label over AI-generated or altered content. Or, if they feel this would be distracting to the user experience, they can instead feature a disclaimer in the expanded description of the video that alerts viewers to any AI content. Regardless of what option creators choose, this is an important step to establishing trust and transparency between creators and viewers.

To disclose, or not to disclose?

Yes, that is the question, and it is a legitimate one among content creators: What specific types of AI-generated or altered content require disclosure?

Disclosure: REQUIRED

  • Video content where someone’s face has been replaced with another through AI-alteration.
  • Audio content that generates—through AI digital synthesis—someone’s voice (i.e., the track sounds like the real person, but the real person’s voice hasn’t been recorded).
  • In a situation that gives new and real meaning to the term “revisionist history,” footage of events—past or present—that has been changed through AI technology to present a different outcome of the truth.
  • Creating realistic-looking imagery in AI that displays events that are pure fiction (which is similar to what many movie productions of today accomplish through computer-generated technology [CGI]).

Disclosure: NOT REQUIRED

  • Scripts and storylines that are “AI-written” for video content.
  • Ideas for development that AI “answers” via prompts.
  • Captions that match the actual voice or sound effects as they play out on display.

Benefits of disclosure and transparency

As AI continues to evolve and improve upon its capabilities, questioning what’s “real” from what isn’t and debating whether or not there is too much of this technology will increase. The decision by YouTube, however, to require disclaimers about AI content will likely diffuse the tension. By doing so, a resulting benefit may turn opponents of AI into embracers and adopters of the technology.

Thank you, YouTube, for pioneering these guidelines and transparency in AI. Here’s hoping that Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other platforms may follow your example.

If you promote your business on YouTube, and have begun using AI technology to enhance your video content, we at EGC hope this blog has been helpful. If you’re looking for additional hands-on help—whether it’s in video creation, social media, or you have questions related to AI—get in touch with us to find out about our complete suite of marketing services.

Oh, and remember to visit EGC’s YouTube page.