It used to be that a lot of the people on the fruited plain wouldn’t believe various things unless there was video.
In the current age, we can’t even believe videos anymore. Technology has advanced to the point that fakes are made on a regular basis. One such video made the rounds on social media before being banned by all social media platforms.
The 68-second deepfake clip appeared Wednesday on social media platforms, seemingly showing the 44-year-old [Ukranian] leader [Volodymyr Zelensky] saying his tenure as president has “not been easy” while staring intently into a camera.
“It is time to face the truth,” Zelensky appeared to say on the manipulated clip. “It didn’t work out … There is no more future. At least for me.”
The heavily doctored clip continues with the Ukrainian president seemingly telling his citizens to surrender.
“And now I’m taking another hard decision to say goodbye to you,” the clip went on. “I advise you to lay down your arms and return to your families. You shouldn’t die in this war.”
“I advise you to live, and I’m going to do the same,” the fake footage concludes.
While that would be nice, and the coverage of this conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been sketchy from the start, such an obvious fake has caught a lot of attention.
Digital media forensics experts told NPR the deepfake — while not entirely well done — could represent just the beginning of Russia’s disinformation war.
“This is the first one we’ve seen that really got some legs, but I suspect it’s the tip of the iceberg,” University of California-Berkeley professor Hany Farid said. “It pollutes the information ecosystem, and it casts a shadow on all content, which is already dealing with the complex fog of war.”
Farid said it could lead some Ukrainians to not believe what they see when Zelensky goes on television next and ask themselves, “Wait a minute — is this real?”
As for what Zelensky really thinks, it’s not what was presented.
The actual Zelensky, appeared in a video posted to Twitter on Wednesday by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense saying he would not surrender in the ongoing fight against Russian troops.
“We are at home and defending Ukraine,” a defiant Zelensky said. “We are not going to lay down any weapons. To our victory.”
The Russians may have something to say about that.
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