Label AI-generated content ‘immediately’, EU urges big tech

The EU is urging big tech to adopt a new method to tackle AI disinformation: labels.

The bloc wants online platforms to flag all AI-generated photos, videos and text, a top official announced Monday.

“The labeling needs to be done now – immediately,” he said Vice-President of the European Commission Vera Jourova, by DW.

The request was made during the explosive growth of synthetic media. ChatGPT has named the fastest growing consumer application in history, while the rise of image generators has led to claims that ‘art is dead’. Jourova warned that “malicious actors” may use these services to spread fake news.

The EU’s pending AI law aims to remove the risks, but compliance with the regulation is unlikely to be mandatory before 2026. In the meantime, the union has a voluntary code of conduct on disinformation. Tech giants, including Google, Meta, Microsoft and TikTok have all signed up for the code. Jourova now wants them all to stamp the synthetic content on their platforms.

“Signers who have services with the potential to spread AI-generated disinformation should in turn use technology to recognize such content and clearly label it to users,” she said.

However, her demands can be ambitious. Since the Disinformation Code is only voluntary, signatories are under no obligation to comply – and those who try will face major obstacles.

To detect and mark all synthetic media in real time, platforms will have to overcome huge technical challenges. In addition, their labels may be incorrect, edited, attacked, manipulated or counterfeit.

However, Jourová said Google has already expressed confidence that it can fulfill her request. She told reporters that she recently asked Big G CEO Sundar Pichai if his company could identify and label AI-generated content.

“His answer was, ‘Yes, but we are developing technologies further,'” she said.

Yet not every tech giant has been so receptive. The most notable rebel is Twitter, which recently pulled out of the EU’s Anti-Disinformation Code. Ominous, Jourova said the social media giant “chosen the hard way.”

“They chose confrontation,” she warned.