Yesterday, Motherboard reported that a fake video of Mark Zuckerberg was posted on Instagram, under the username, bill_posters_uk. In the video, Zuckerberg appears to give a threatening speech about the power of Facebook.
A fake video of Mark Zuckerberg giving a sinister speech about the power of Facebook has been posted to Instagram. The company previously said it would not remove this type of video. https://t.co/0kTg4OZE4c
— Motherboard (@motherboard) June 11, 2019
Motherboard mentions that the video has been created by artists Bill Posters and Daniel Howe in partnership with advertising company Canny. Previously, Canny in partnership with Posters has created several such deepfake videos of Donald Trump, Kim Kardashian etc.
Omer Ben-Ami, one of the founders of Canny says that the video is made to educate the public on the uses of AI and to make them realize the potential of AI. But according to other news sources the video created by the artists is to test Facebook’s no takedown policy on fake videos and misinformation for the sake of retaining their “educational value”.
Recently Facebook received strong criticism for promoting fake videos on its platform. In May, the company had refused to remove a doctored video of senior politician Nancy Pelosi. Neil Potts, Public Policy Director of Facebook had stated that if someone posted a doctored video of Zuckerberg, like one of Pelosi, it would stay up.
Around the same time, Monika Bickert, vice president for Product Policy And Counterterrorism at Facebook had said for the fake video of Nancy Pelosi,“Anybody who is seeing this video in News Feed, anyone who is going to share it to somebody else, anybody who has shared it in the past, they are being alerted that this video is false”. Bickert also added that, “And this is part of the way that we deal with misinformation.”
Following all of this it seems that the stance on Mark Zuckerberg’s fake video went through a test and it passed. As Instagram spokesperson comments that it will stay up on the platform but will be removed from recommendation surface.
“We will treat this content the same way we treat all misinformation on Instagram,” a spokesperson for Instagram told Motherboard. “If third-party fact-checkers mark it as false, we will filter it from Instagram’s recommendation surfaces like Explore and hashtag pages.”
The fake Mark Zuckerberg video is a short one in which he talks about Facebook’s power, the video says, “Imagine this for a second: One man, with total control of billions of people’s stolen data, all their secrets, their lives, their futures, I owe it all to Spectre. Spectre showed me that whoever controls the data, controls the future.” The video is also framed with broadcast chyrons which reads, “Zuckerberg: We’re increasing transparency on ads. Announces new measures to protect elections.” This was created in order to make it appear like a usual news report.
The audio in the video sounds much like a voiceover, but without any sync issues and is loud and clear. However the visuals are almost accurate. In this deepfake video, the person shown can blink, move seamlessly and also gesture the way Zuckerberg would do.
Motherboard reports that the visuals in the video are taken from a real video of Zuckerberg in September 2017, when he was addressing the Russian election interference on Facebook. The Instagram post containing the video, stated that it’s created using CannyAI’s video dialogue replacement (VDR) technology.
In a statement to Motherboard, Omer Ben-Ami, said that for the Mark Zuckerberg deepfake, “Canny engineers arbitrarily clipped a 21-second segment out of the original seven minute video, trained the algorithm on this clip as well as videos of the voice actor speaking, and then reconstructed the frames in Zuckerberg’s video to match the facial movements of the voice actor.”
Omer also mentions that “the potential of AI lies in the ability of creating a photorealistic model of a human being. It is the next step in our digital evolution where eventually each one of us could have a digital copy, a Universal Everlasting human. This will change the way we share and tell stories, remember our loved ones and create content”
A CNN reporter has tweeted that CBS is asking Facebook to remove the fake Zuckerberg video because it shows the CBS logo on it, “CBS has requested that Facebook take down this fake, unauthorized use of the CBSN trademark”.
Apparently the fake video of Zuckerberg has garnered some good laughs among the community. It is also seen as a next wave in the battle to fight misinformation on social media sites.
A user on Hacker News says, “I love the concept of this. There’s no better way to put Facebook’s policy to the test than to turn it against them.”
this is fun https://t.co/pDx6QiffWk
— Jason Koebler (@jason_koebler) June 11, 2019
brilliant. The real test will be when others copy the video and post it with zero context: This Deepfake of Mark Zuckerberg Tests Facebook’s Fake Video Policies https://t.co/YNPc8wbiA0
— Eric Zassenhaus (@ezass) June 11, 2019
But many users are also concerned that if a fake video can look so accurate now, it’s going to be a challenge to identify which information is true and which is false.
A user on Reddit comments that “This election cycle will be a dry run for the future. Small ads, little bits of phrases and speeches will stream across social media. If it takes hold, I fear for the future. We will find it very, very difficult to know what is real without a large social change, as large as the advent of social media in the first place.”
Another user adds “I’m routinely surprised by the number of people unaware just how far this technology has progressed just in the past three years, as well as how many people are completely unaware it exists at all. At this point, I think that’s scarier than the tech itself.”
And another one comments, “True. Also the older generation. I can already see my grandpa seeing a deepfake on Fox news and immediately considering it gospel without looking into it further.”