September 23, 2021

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How free Deepfake AI video makers are used to manipulate people

The ability to make video content of any person or event has been a dream for storytellers and for Hollywood. Now artificial intelligence is turning it into reality.

“The strong powers no longer have to stifle information. Now they can overload us with so much that there is no way of knowing what is real or not. The ability to be an informed public will only worsen as deep fake technology advances.

Incriminating audio and video will carry even less weight than they already have. A government must not lie to its people or censor its enemies when no one believes anything to begin with.

We are entering the post-information era. “
I J. Andrew Schrecker

In the deep web world of deepfakes, an emerging artificial intelligence technology that seamlessly blends one person’s face onto another’s body in a video clip, there’s no shortage of creepy pornography made to look like celebrities.

There are also many fake celebrity porn videos made using deepfake technology that portrays politicians and other notable officials, including Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Emmanuel Macron, and Angela Merkel.

But deepfake producers haven’t just created fake celebrity porn for deepfake-obsessed Reddit users or shared their creations with other deepfake artists on Discord channels. They also used the tool to target journalists who report deepfake.

Freedom of speech is in danger

AI researchers say malicious deepfakes could be used to threaten free speech, especially in countries like Russia and China, where deepfakes are already being used as a weapon for political propaganda.

“Putting fake news into deepfake is an interesting idea,” says Fursy Teyssier, the developer of the artificial intelligence tool FakeApp that generates deepfake. “But it’s dangerous.”

A malicious way to insert fake news into deepfakes is to generate scenes and put text on them.

Imagine a fake president faking a racial slur or declaring war on another country. So imagine how fast those videos would spread on social media.

A brief history of deepfake

The term deepfake was coined in 2017 by a Reddit user who posted a video clip of actor Nicolas Cage superimposed on actor Emma Watson’s face that made it seem like they were romantically involved. The process has since become easier for people with no programming skills thanks to FakeApp, which launched in early December.

Ever since deepfakes started spreading online, the deepfakes community has been self-regulating to keep deepfakes benign and mostly satirical.

Deepfakes are used as extortion

“There is a code of ethics in deepfakes,” says Teyssier. “You don’t want to spoil the fun for everyone.”

This does not include blackmailing or selling deepfake clips that could be used for extortion purposes.

Teyssier, who lives in France, recently received an email from someone claiming to have deepfake of Nicolas Cage engaging in sexual acts with his wife, which he was willing to sell if Teyssier paid him $ 500 in bitcoin. While deepfake makers are trying to control their communities, it is much more difficult to stop deepfake makers who operate illegally outside of deepfake forums and channels.

“The deepfake community is doing a great job of self-regulation,” says Kevin Eykholt, CEO of deepfake news company Mad Network. “But deepfakes made by anyone with the technical know-how, then distributed online or, even worse, for offline distribution, pose a serious threat to society.”

The use of deepfakes as weapons

Eykholt warns that deepfake technology could be used to cause serious harm to the subject.

In China, deepfakes have been used as a weapon against political dissidents in an attempt by the Chinese government to silence them. In Russia, deepfaking was recently used in an attempt to discredit journalist Yulia Latynina, who claims she was targeted by fake deepfakes made to make it look like the deepfake came from her ex-boyfriend.

A deepfake of Latynina engaging in sexual acts with an alien creature was posted on her website after suing Putin for his alleged links to organized crime.

“Deepfakes are now being used by authoritarian regimes as a new method of censorship,” says Eykholt. “It’s pretty scary.”

Deepfake and ethical concerns

Deepfake makers are now concerned that their community is putting innocent people at risk by releasing deepfakes into the wild before good technology is available, along with laws and policies, to protect deepfakes from malicious deepfakes.

“There are deepfakery sites popping up all the time,” says Teyssier. “But deepfakery makers can’t control deepfakery. It’s like they are unleashing the plague.”

The deepfakes community is discussing porn deepfakes made by public officials, but ordinary people deepfakes are the real danger to the deepfakes community. Teyssier, who has faked celebrities including Lupita Nyong’o and Megan Fox, says he won’t fake an average person in part because that would be unethical.

“I’m not going to be ordinary people,” says Teyssier. “There must be ethical rules around deepfakes so as not to harm innocent people.”

Meanwhile, FakeApp is becoming more accessible to unscrupulous non-technical users, which deepfake makers say is the real problem.

“The deepfakes community knows that deepfakes can be used as a weapon and they are trying to stop them,” says Eykholt. “But deepfakes don’t want deepfake technology to be limited to them. If we try to limit deepfake technology, people will only use it for evil purposes.”

FakeApp is a generative adversary network (GAN) AI that was released in late January by former Uber software engineer Andrew Rabinovich who wanted the general public to have access to deepfake video editing tools, but not with malicious intent.

“I am starting this thread for requests from deep learning community members,” Rabinovich wrote on a deepfake bulletin board. “If you have deep learning projects that require huge amounts of data to work on, I’ll add it.”

In 48 hours, FakeApp was downloaded a thousand times. A week later it was downloaded 35,000 times and the deepfakes community was buzzing about which deepfakes were possible with FakeApp.

There are already FakeApp deepfake porn videos shared on deepfake channels. In fact, deepfakers shared links to their latest deepfake creations via private Reddit messages hoping other deepfakers would enjoy seeing their recent deepfakers without revealing where they found the original video for free download purposes.

This is exactly why Teyssier created his deepfake channel at to provide a safe space for deepfake to share their deepfake creations without giving away the source video for free download purposes, and it’s one of the reasons why deepfake makers are starting to think about encrypting all deepfake media before sharing them online in order to protect deepfake subjects from malicious deepfakes.

Take away

Deepfakes are a new frontier in the realm of digital technology.

They have been used as extortion, but also for good causes such as making movies from never-before-seen angles to show what war looks like or what it is like inside an MRI scanner.

Videos can be created with very little effort and could be manipulated to create fake news stories that would spread across all social media networks without needing a lot of evidence.

With the ability to alter audio and video, anyone could be a victim or perpetrator at any time. This should concern all those who appreciate their right to express themselves freely without being censored by others.

If free speech is already under attack thanks to trolls, deepfakes will make matters worse by making everything we see unreliable because there will be no way of knowing if the images shown online are real or not.

This phenomenon should worry anyone who cares about democracy and freedom of speech in general.

There are ethical concerns about using this technology, but we only need to look back at the story when people were attacked with photoshopped images and videos before deciding whether or not these new developments will help society advance technologically or destroy our own altogether. freedom.