On June 16, 2022, the Federal Trade Commission issued a report to Congress titled Combatting Online Harms Through Innovation (the “Report”) that urges policymakers and other stakeholders to exercise “great caution” about relying on artificial intelligence (“AI”) to combat harmful online content.
The Report comes after Congress in the 2021 Appropriations Act directed the FTC to examine ways that AI may be used to address a wide variety of specified harmful online content such as scams, deepfakes, fake reviews, opioid sales, child sexual exploitation, revenge pornography, harassment, hate crimes, incitement of violence, misleading or exploitative interfaces, terrorist and violent extremist abuse of digital platforms, election-related disinformation and counterfeit product sales.
The Report expresses concerns that AI tools can be inaccurate, biased and incentivize reliance on invasive forms of commercial surveillance. The Report finds that, given that major tech platforms and others are already using AI tools to address online harms, lawmakers should consider focusing on developing legal frameworks that would ensure that AI tools do not themselves cause harm.
The FTC voted 4-1 to send the Report to Congress and released separate statements on the Report from Chair Lina M. Khan, Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, Commissioner Alvaro M. Bedoya, Commissioner Christine S. Wilson (concurring) and Commissioner Noah Joshua Phillips (dissenting).