A 'deepfake' version of the Queen, played by actress Debra Stephenson, which was used to deliver Channel 4's alternative Christmas message in 2020
Photoshopped images are to have their edits revealed, as the tech giant behind the software moves to combat harmful fakes.
Adobe, which makes Photoshop, has launched a new “Verify” website that people can drag and drop online photos into to check what changes have been made.
The move comes as a senior executive at the tech company told The Telegraph that editing software was now so sophisticated that people needed to view all images and videos online with the same skepticism as scam emails.
Dana Rao, an executive vice-president for Adobe, whose video and photo editing software produces a vast amount of the content seen online, said: “You know how you shouldn’t trust emails you get asking for your private information. You now need to take that same journey with the idea of online media being disseminated.
“You have to have that same level of skepticism that everything I am seeing isn’t true”.
The company also announced at its recent Adobe Max conference that alongside the website, it was launching a new “content credentials” feature, which will let editors using their software publicly list all the changes made to photos. The company is working on a similar system for videos.
Mr Rao’s comments come as concern is growing over the rise of “deepfake” technology that can make computer-generated video and images of famous people look so realistic that viewers assume they are real.
A TikTok account that uses deepfake technology to digitally transform a Tom Cruise impressionist into the celebrity has amassed more than three million followers. The videos are so lifelike that singer Justin Bieber recently responded to one in a social media post, apparently under the impression the deepfake was the actual Tom Cruise.
The video editor behind the Cruise deepfakes, Belgian Chris Ume, has used the account to educate people on how sophisticated the tech has become. However, similar technology has already been used to spread misinformation, such as a false video that went viral online last year of US speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, after it was edited to make it look like she was slurring her words.
This week MPs raised concerns in parliament that such technology could be used to influence future UK elections.
Responding to the concerns, culture secretary Nadine Dorries said that social media companies would have to clamp down on deepfake videos aimed at “discrediting” politicians under incoming online safety laws.