OLYMPIA— A bill addressing the use of synthetic media in campaigns was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee today.
Synthetic media — also known as “deepfakes”— involves generating, manipulating, or altering data, particularly through the use of artificial intelligence and has become increasingly common in political campaigns, often with malicious intent. This practice can be used to mislead people or cause harm, and it has far-reaching consequences for our democracy.
SB 5152, sponsored by Sen. Javier Valdez (D-Seattle), addresses this issue head-on by requiring clear disclosure whenever manipulated media is used for election campaigns. This bill will ensure the safety and integrity of our elections in Washington state.
According to the bill, the disclosure must be printed in at least the largest font size of other text in the media or a size easily readable for the average viewer for visual media. For video media, it must appear for the duration of the video. For audio media, it must be read in a clearly spoken manner and a pitch easily heard by the average listener at the beginning and end of the audio, and at least every two minutes during the audio if applicable.
A candidate whose appears in synthetic media distributed without the required disclosure may bring an action for damages against the party distributing the media.
“This bill is a powerful step towards protecting the integrity of our democratic process,” Valdez said. “With this legislation, we send a clear message that the use of manipulative media will not be tolerated, and that candidates and campaigns can work for the hearts and minds of voters on a level playing field.”
With the signing of this bill into law, Washington state joins the forefront of the fight against manipulative synthetic media in politics. The clear disclosure requirements set out by this legislation will help to protect the people of Washington from the damaging effects of these practices an ensures that voters have access to accurate information.