There's a deepfake of Zuckerberg on Instagram. Your move, Facebook

Andrew Cummings
June 12, 2019

In the clip, Zuckerberg talks about being "one man, with total control of billions of people's stolen data, all their secrets, their lives, their futures". The doctored clip, which was posted last week, also features news graphics bearing the CBS logo. Spectre, referenced in the video, is an art exhibit that took place at the Sheffield Doc Fest in the UK.

"There's a tension here: we work hard to find the right balance between encouraging free expression and promoting a safe and authentic community, and we believe that reducing the distribution of inauthentic content strikes that balance", a Facebook spokesperson said in May.

Pelosi called on the social media giant to block the video, saying Facebook "knows that this is false".

CannyAI's video dialogue replacement (VDR) technology was applied to a real video of Zuckerberg discussing Russian election interference on Facebook in 2017 to create the doctored speech.

The existence of the so-called "deepfake" video of Zuckerberg was first reported by VICE. If it's marked as false by third-party fact checkers, the spokesperson said, the site's algorithms won't recommend people view it.

Facebook was criticised over its refusal to remove a doctored video of United States politician Nancy Pelosi edited to make her appear drunk from the platform, as it doesn't have a policy requiring content posted on the site to be true. Over the weekend, two British artists released a doctored video of Facebook's chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, as a sly comment on the spread of false information online.

The report said it could not be determined exactly what emails the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has requested and how many of them relate to Zuckerberg. Nor did Canny AI, an Israeli advertising startup that helped create the video. Facebook's director of policy claimed that a fake video of Zuckerberg would stay up when previously asked, but this new video with its explicit message puts that to the test. It makes it appear as if Zuckerberg is giving out the statement, which in reality he isn't, and his voice is dubbed by an actor.

The clip uses similar technology to the deepfake clips which surfaced on pornography sites previous year, which use artificial intelligence (AI) to edit the faces of female celebrities onto the bodies of porn actors. The clip slows down his speech and inserts new audio.

The final product is visually realistic, but as many, including Ben-Ami have pointed out, the voice speaking is clearly not Zuckerberg. It seems logical enough that the video would be taken down, wouldn't it?

Still, even though the video isn't a ideal fake, Ben-Ami said AI and even simpler forms of editing, such as speeding up or slowing down footage, have already made it "quite difficult" for people to identify manipulated clips.

The newspaper said reporters had not seen the emails and relied on unnamed people.

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