Will Deepfakes Redefine Whether You Can Believe What You See?

“Think of this – one man with total control of billions of people’s stolen data.  All their secrets, their lives, their futures…”  So begins a fake video  using technology and videos of Mark Zuckerberg saying completely different things (see here).

It even has a CBS News logo on it.  CBS asked Facebook to take it down for trademark violation, but since they refused to take down the doctored video that Trump and others on the right used to try to smear Speaker Pelosi, they are now in a box.

But this is not a Facebook problem.  Nowadays, almost anyone with a little bit of skill and not very much money can make a relatively convincing fake video.

Then they can post it.

They don’t have to post it on Facebook, they can post it on some obscure, non-US web site.  One they create for the purpose.  One that is going to ignore takedown requests.  One that can move at will making it hard to block.

Then all they have to do is wait for people to post links to it.

Could be anything.

The video could show someone committing a crime or talking about something illegal or something immoral.  Given the tech, the possibilities are endless.

Abraham Lincoln once said that it must be true if it is on the Internet (no, he didn’t say that! ).   People tend to believe things that reinforce anything that they would like to be real.

That Zuckerberg video looks pretty real.  It should because it is Zuckerberg and he did speak, just not those words in that order.

Since politics is full of dirty tricks and it would be easy to create plausible deniability by getting someone in another country to actually do the posting (after all, Trump just said the other day that he would listen to dirt about an opponent given him by a foreign power – this is not much of a stretch.  After all, it could be real.  How would someone know?  Especially if they want it to be true.

This would be an easy way for an enemy of the U.S. to influence an election.  Create enough of these fake videos – for China it would cost petty cash – say $1 million or even $10 million for a whole bunch of them – and you could cause people not to know what to believe.

While tech could help mainstream media figure out some fakes, web sites that didn’t really care whether something is fake as long as it hurt people they want to hurt, will choose not to use that tech.  This puts the target of the smear in a position of having to react and possibly sue to try and get things taken down.  Good luck with that.  It would be a game of whack-a-mole.

Stay tuned, this will get ugly.  Source: Vice.

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