If you think things are bad with the fake news and doctored photos, just wait until you see what is coming. The technology to create fake videos has arrived. With this technology any video found on YouTube can be altered to make the target appear to say anything the perpetrators want. Watch this two-minute video to understand how this technology works.
We have reverse image search as a tool to debunk fake photos. Unfortunately at this time we do not have a similar tool to debunk fake videos. We are going to have to draw on our best digital resilience skills to vet questionable videos. One hint we got from this clip – if Putin is smiling it is probably a falsified video.
Remember world leaders are unlikely to grant interviews to obscure websites and Facebook pages. Look at where the video is posted. Can it only be found on some weird little website or via a Facebook group? Any footage of a world leader will also be available on multiple media websites as well. Whatever your opinions on the trustworthiness of the big media sources for reporting the news they will all have the same footage of a world leader’s public statement.
Remember, this technology is overlaid on YouTube videos. That means the original video is some where on YouTube.
Examine the background is this person speaking at state event? Is it at the White House? Downing Street? A world summit? Did they perpetrators get lazy and leave in the logo of the news organization from which they stole the video? Look for the original via the news organization’s YouTube channel or contact them to let them know about the fake video.
Face Swap Technology
Face swap technology started out as a way to have some silly fun on apps like SnapChat. It has evolved to the creation of fake porn. So far we have seen the fake videos against female actors. It can be used just as easily to manufacture scandals against world leaders.
Remember one of primary goals of the underminers of democracy is not to make you believe their messaging. But to make you believe in nothing so you do nothing. Fake videos and the emerging fake audio are a very powerful tools. If we can’t even believe our eyes and ears what is the point? Might as well give up, right? Please don’t.
Right now I do not have an easy counter measure. Our best defense against the growing efforts to hack our perception through fake online content is to build our digital resilience skills.
Learn more about fake videos and their implications:
Lawfare Blog – Deep Fakes: A Looming Crisis for National Security, Democracy and Privacy? – An analysis of the danger this technology poses to our national security, including a list of possible scenarios and possible defense technology
Vanity Fair – Fake News is About to Get Even Scarier Than You Ever Dreamed – An in depth look at fake video technology including several examples of how it has been used.
Motherboard – We Are Truly F@&$%: Everyone Is Making AI-Generated Fake Porn Now – An explanation of how face swapping technology is used to create fake porn.
Face2Face: Real-time Face Capture and Reenactment of RGB Videos – An extended video 6:35 minutes) explaining in more depth the technology of altering video of a person speaking