October 5, 2022

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Meta takes down deep fake video of Ukrainian president telling his people to surrender

2 min read

Meta Platforms Inc. today said it has removed a deep fake video that had been circulating on the web that shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy telling people to lay down their arms and go back to their families.

The video first appeared on the Ukrainian news website for TV24, a service that says it was hacked. The video shows the president standing on a podium (pictured) announcing the surrender and telling his people that the country’s war efforts had failed.

“Dear Ukrainians! Dear defenders! ” the video started. “Being president was not so easy. I have to make difficult decisions. At first, I decided to return Donbass. It’s time to look in the eye. It didn’t work out. It only got worse. Much worse. There is no more tomorrow. ”

Although someone who is hard of hearing might not have noticed that the voice wasn’t quite right and the image was somewhat pixelated, it still wasn’t a bad attempt at making a fake – a cause for concern as we head into the future. Zelensky himself later went online and told people in a video that he certainly never said those things. Still, that didn’t stop the fake from going viral on social media, which is why Meta took it down under its “manipulated media” policy.

“Earlier today, our teams identified and removed a deep fake video claiming to show President Zelenskyy issuing a statement he never did,” Meta’s head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher said in a statement. “It appeared on a reportedly compromised website and then started showing across the internet.”

The Land Forces of Ukraine’s Facebook page had on March 2 told people what can happen in such circumstances, explaining to perhaps some uninitiated folks that fake videos can be “created through machine learning algorithms.” The page explained that sometimes such videos are so good they look very real, but in these cases, someone has put together a fake to “sow panic” among Ukrainian citizens.

It seems they knew what was coming, and there’s likely to be more such technological manipulation.

Photo: Twitter

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