Facebook, YouTube and Twitter remove Zelensky’s deepfake
YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi said the video and its uploads were removed from the platform for violating the company’s misinformation policies. “We allow this video if it provides sufficient educational, documentary, scientific or artistic context,” Choi said in a statement.
Hany Farid, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley and an expert in digital forensics, pointed to several of the obvious signs that the video is a deepfake. First, it is a low quality, low resolution recording; this is a common trick to hide the distortions created when creating a deepfake, as our brains tend to be more forgiving of glitches in low quality videos. Second, the Zelensky in the video stares straight ahead without moving his arms throughout the clip – it’s very difficult to do a convincing deepfake that includes head movements and hands moving in front of the face. Third, there are few visual inconsistencies in the video, he pointed out, that occur during the process of making a deepfake, which is created one frame at a time. Although Zelensky’s voice is harder for Farid to comment on, in part because he doesn’t speak Ukrainian, he said it sounded a little weird to him.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the video could still be found online, such as in some posts CNN Business spotted on Twitter and YouTube in which users made it clear it was a deepfake.
While Farid doesn’t think the video fooled people, he thinks it “muddles the information”, making it harder for anyone to trust what they see.
“Casting doubt on what you see, hear and read is a very powerful weapon in information warfare and deepfakes are now playing a part in that,” Farid said.