Deepfake news anchors deliver Chinese propaganda: Report

This illustration photo taken on January 30, 2023 shows a phone screen displaying a statement from the head of security policy at META with a fake video (R) of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky calling on his soldiers to lay down their weapons shown in the background, in Washington, DC. – Chatbots spouting falsehoods, face-swapping apps generating fake porn and cloned voices defrauding companies of millions — governments are scrambling to regulate AI-powered deepfakes widely feared to be a misinformation super spreader. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — Propaganda videos featuring what look like human news anchors are attempting to influence viewers online, according to a new research report.

The news anchor is no actor. It’s completely computer-generated, and the message is critical of the U.S.

These deepfakes are intended to promote the interests of the Chinese Communist Party.

Deepfakes are digitally altered media in which a person in an existing image or video is replaced with someone else’s likeness.

They can look believable. Sometimes it’s fun, and sometimes it’s scary.

One video appears to show Tom Cruise saying, ”I’m going to show you some magic.”

This Tom Cruise is fake. It’s artificial intelligence creating the magic.

In a report titled “Deepfake it till you make it,” a New York-based tech company discovered the Tom Cruise video and others that take on an even a more troubling tone.

Dave Rank, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy to China, said the videos come at a particularly delicate time in U.S.-Chinese relations.

“The form is new, but I don’t think there’s anything particularly new about the motive,” Rank said about the deepfakes.

Tensions are high after the U.S. military shot down a suspected “high altitude” Chinese surveillance balloon off the coast of South Carolina last weekend.

“It’s going to fall on an audience already inclined to be pretty skeptical about what’s coming out of Beijing,” Rank said.

Artificial intelligence expert Sultan Meghji says the technology capable of creating these deepfakes is exploding, and regulating the deepfakes in the U.S., with its freedom-of-speech protections, is challenging.

“You don’t know for a fact, actually, that you aren’t talking to a piece of deepfake right now,” Meghji said. “There’s no model for us to use to regulate this. And so, it’s going to be the wild, wild West for a while.”

For now, spotting a deepfake, like the one falsely showing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s bogus call to surrender last year, will rest solely on the keen viewer.

“We have to get better and smarter about understanding, ‘Hey, am I watching a video that comes from NewsNation? Or is it, you know, NewsNation coming from, you know, deep in the bowels of the People’s Republic of China or Russia or somewhere like that?’” Meghji said.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, if you want to spot a deepfake, watch the blinking, or lack of it. Other clues include double chins, eyebrows and double lines.

Choppy sentences are also a good giveaway.

Also, Wolf News, the media company those videos were branded with turned out to be fake too.


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