Google has quietly banned deepfake projects on its Colaboratory (Colab) service, putting an end to the large-scale utilization of the platform’s resources for this purpose.
Colab is an online computing resource that allows researchers to run Python code directly through the browser while using free computing resources, including GPUs, to power their projects.
Due to the multi-core nature of GPUs, Colab is ideal for training machine learning projects like deepfake models or for performing data analysis.
Deepfakes can be trained to swap faces on video clips, adding realistic facial expressions to make the result appear genuine, although it’s fake.
They have been used for spreading fake news, creating revenge porn, or for fun. However, the lack of ethical limitations in their use has been the source of controversy and concern.
Placing a ban on deepfakes
Based on archive.org historical data, the ban took place earlier this month, with Google Research quietly adding deep fakes to the list of disallowed projects.
As noted on Discord by DFL developer ‘chervonij,’ those who attempt to train deepfakes on the Colab platform right now are served with the following error:
“You may be executing code that is disallowed, and this may restrict your ability to use Colab in the future. Please note the prohibited actions specified in our FAQ.”