From BILL READER, Subject: A “fun little app” with serious ethical implications
Microsoft’s “Face Swap” app takes photo manipulation to a whole new level, and poses serious implications for citizen-journalism efforts that already have suffered from amateur manipulations (remember this gem from November?).
I expect it will be a matter of days — not weeks, nor months — until a U.S. newspaper publishes a submitted wedding or anniversary photo that has been “Face Swapped.”
Citizen journalism (reader-submitted content) has always been an important but troublesome part of the business. It has moral value, however, only when it is treated like any other content stream — meaning the information is vetted and managed by trained editors, ideally editors who are given the time and resources to stay at least one step ahead of modern-day pranksters, liars, rumor-mongers, and flim-flam artists.
Reader is an associate professor at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism