News·4 min read

Daily Skimm: Deepfakes on TikTok, Birth Control, and Lionel Messi

in this photo illustration a TikTok logo displayed on a smartphone.
March 22, 2023


The Story

TikTok’s not scrolling past deepfakes.

Give me the update.

Yesterday, the company updated its rules on ”synthetic media” or deepfakes — digitally manipulated videos that can spread false information. Social media has long been a breeding ground for misinformation and disinformation. Amid growing access to AI tools (see: DALL-E and ChatGPT), TikTok hasn’t been able to keep deepfakes off FYPs. Videos have been manipulated to show everything from Joe Rogan selling libido-enhancing supplements to President Biden singing ”Baby Shark.” People have also altered porn videos with women’s faces for revenge. Now, TikTok wants to make it easier for users to see what’s fact or fiction.

What should I look out for?

Starting April 21, all deepfakes on TikTok must be clearly labeled — either through a sticker on the video or caption that reads ”not real,” ”synthetic,” or ”altered.” TikTok had already banned misleading deepfakes about world events. But it's taking its policy further by banning altered videos that use the images of private figures and minors. TikTok says the changes are to help "strike a balance between freedom of expression and preventing harm." However, the policy updates come as the ring light's been shining extra bright on the social media app.

What do you mean?

The Biden admin wants ByteDance — TikTok's owner — to sell the app amid growing security concerns involving Americans' data. Lawmakers in the US, EU, and parts of Asia have banned TikTok from government devices. Tomorrow, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is set to appear before Congress. He’s going to be making the case that it’s safe for the app to stay in more than 150 million Americans’ phones. He’ll likely get questions about the app’s consumer privacy and data security practices, its impact on kids, and its ties to the Chinese government.


What happens on TikTok doesn't stay on TikTok. Much of the platform's content makes its way into other social media apps...including deepfake videos. While TikTok aims to contain misinformation with its new guidelines, it still has a growing list of issues to address.

And Also...This

What’s got people talking…

Hormonal contraceptives. Yesterday, researchers published a study that found all types of hormonal contraceptives are tied to an increased risk of breast cancer. Previous research has suggested that birth control with estrogen and progestogen can lead to a slightly higher risk of the cancer. But there hasn't been enough research on progestogen-only contraception, which has become a popular option. Now, this study has found that the number of hormones in birth control doesn't reduce the risk of breast cancer. The study revealed that those who used progestogen-only birth control like IUDs or the ”mini-pill” had a 20% to 30% higher risk of developing breast cancer. It also found that that risk dropped in the years after a woman stopped taking the contraceptive.

  • A note from the authors: Researchers said they hope women don’t see the numbers and turn-off their birth control pill alarm, adding there are ”well-established benefits of contraceptive use.”

What’s a growing problem in the US…

An animal tranquilizer. Earlier this week, the Drug Enforcement Administration warned about the rising threat of xylazine. The tranquilizer has sedative effects similar to an opioid. But because it isn’t one, naloxone doesn’t work in reversing its effects. Combining xylazine with fentanyl makes it even deadlier. The DEA said it has seized fentanyl and xylazine mixtures in almost every state. The CDC said more than 100,000 Americans died from drug overdoses between August 2021 to August 2022. Almost 70% of those deaths involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Now, the DEA warns xylazine ”is making the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced.”

…Oh and speaking of growing concerns, a new CDC report found that clinical cases of Candida auris, a drug-resistant fungus, tripled from 2020 to 2021. The fungus can be dangerous to those with compromised immune systems.

What might ruffle some feathers…

Lab-grown chicken. Yesterday, the FDA marked GOOD Meat’s lab-grown chicken safe to eat. Many companies have been working to get lab-grown meat on the market — clucking about the environmental benefits. GOOD Meat’s been selling the product in Singapore since 2020. Now, it still has to get approval from the US Department of Agriculture before its ‘chicken’ can hit shelves. This redefines the whole ‘what came first: the chicken or the egg?’ debate.

Where rectal ozone therapy might not be helpful…

The courtroom. Yesterday, actress Gwyneth Paltrow was in court for a hit-and-run skiing accident in 2016. A retired optometrist is accusing Paltrow of crashing into him, leaving him seriously injured. He’s seeking $300,000 in damages. Paltrow has countersued for $1 and legal fees.

…Oh and speaking of courtrooms, Bad Bunny’s ex-girlfriend is suing the artist for $40 million. She says he used her voice recording without her permission in two hit songs: ”Pa Ti” and ”Dos Mil 16.”

Who forgot he’s kind of famous…

Lionel Messi.

Who's the real MVP...


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