First seen in Forrest Gump movie (1994), Hollywood is the brilliant incubator for visual special effects to support their stories. Face swaps require adjustment frame by frame and a small fortune that only big production companies can afford.
If the news media is the fourth pillar of democracy, be it in print, radio, TV or the internet, then what is the impact of social media in spreading fake news?
For a long time, most deep fakes were (over-) used to misrepresent female celebrities by adding their faces onto the bodies of porn stars, or published as so-called “revenge porn”, usually by men who sought to humiliate ex-partners or other women. Until relatively recently, however, there was little concern about this form of cyberbullying.
Then, the video showing Elon Musk smoking pot crashed Tesla’s stock shares in a day, and the CEO of Symantec tricked into transferring $10 m to an unknown perpetrator who used voice fake technology. These events raised a question: will plausible deep fakes shift stock prices, influence voters and provoke religious tension or nuclear war? Maybe.
In June 2019, Facebook refused to delete the fake Pelosi video tweeted by Trump and shared by his online supporters. A week later, Zuckerberg had his own deepfake problem. More recently, Facebook banned deepfake videos that are likely to mislead viewers into thinking someone “said words that they did not actually say” – but only during the run-up to the 2020 US election. It is important to note that this policy covers only misinformation produced using AI, meaning “shallow fakes” are still allowed on the platform. Shallow fakes do not use AI deep-learning technology and are created using simple and easily accessible video editing tools. Nonetheless, the results of shallow or deep fake are almost indifferentiable.