Broadcasters cannot stop ‘deepfakes’ and misinformation on election day

Broadcasters have warned that on election day, channels will not be able to warn viewers about deepfakes and misinformation.

ITN chief executive Rachel Corp, whose company produces 5 News, ITV News and Channel 4 News, spoke at the Media And Telecoms 2024 And Beyond Conference at the Park Plaza London Riverbank on Tuesday.

She warned that “we’re going to be flooded” with artificial intelligence-created propaganda and said ITN has been raising these issues with Government for “over a year”.

ITV and ITN Headquarters
The ITN headquarters on Gray’s Inn Road, central London (Steve Parsons/PA)

“We have seen deepfakes of some of our presenters, which when you’re (a company) based on authority of trust and impartiality, that does pose a threat,” Ms Corp added.

She said: “One of the particular concerns around the election for us we did raise was come polling day, as you all know, broadcasters have to stop doing the TV news when the polls open, and all we can do is leaders voting and Labradors outside polling stations, we can’t take it on.

“So if something emerges of Rishi Sunak high-fiving Vladimir Putin and it’s spreading then we can’t counter that… in the normal way on our bulletins, so there is a danger there.”

When asked about countering the issue, she replied: “We would therefore have to talk to regulators but there is not that instant (thing) of us coming in to counter (deepfakes) so I’m raising that as a flag, without necessarily having a solution.”

Ms Corp also revealed plans to work with technology company Open Origins to safeguard its video archive digitally by using blockchain to certify the authenticity of its content.

Dominic Carter, executive vice-president of publishing at The Sun, said the General Election “doesn’t sell copies of a newspaper, but does drive traffic online”.

He added that he thought it was going to get interesting in the next couple of weeks, and that it was not clear what the political parties “stand for”.

Newspaper stock
Mr Carter would not be drawn on which political party The Sun would back (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“Journalism is human endeavour, it’s not artificial intelligence,” Mr Carter said.

“And therefore, I think it’s probably more relevant now than ever before with the rise of synthetic content.”

Mr Carter would not be drawn on which political party The Sun would back.

The newspaper has previously backed the Conservatives and Labour at different times in the past three decades.