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April 15th, 2018 at 10:46 am

Face-swapping videos could lead to more ‘fake news’

IMG_6453Fake news has been a problem swamping the internet. Now there is a way to make fake videos with nothing more than your laptop. FakeApp can be used to make fake videos of people using images or other videos of them. Several social media platforms are filled with these deepfakes. While the technology still needs works, it’s been used to put celebrities into pornographic films. What would happen if world leaders became digital puppets? Following is a full transcript of the video.

Steve Kovach: You’ve probably seen this Snapchat filter before. It’s called Face Swap. It’s an augmented reality feature that takes someone else’s face and puts it on your own. But it turns out this fun technology is becoming easy for anyone to use. And not just in Snapchat.

This is called a deepfake. They’re shockingly easy to make. And for the most part, people use them to make goofy videos. But there’s a darker side to this. It used to be you had to be a world-class film editor to get this effect. But now anyone can do it with just a simple app. FakeApp is a free PC program based on Google’s open-sourced machine learning technology. Since it’s open-sourced, anyone can have access to this technology to make fake videos. Think of it as an advanced version of their Snapchat lenses. You feed the program hundreds or thousands of images, and it spits out a fake video.

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Deepfakes have already started spreading through many online communities. Most are harmless, but they have crept into the darker parts of the internet too. Of course, a lot of these are silly and goofy. This deepfake shows Nicholas Cage as Lois Lane in a Superman movie. But some have used it for malicious reasons. Like taking celebrity images and putting them in pornographic videos. Gal Gadot and Taylor Swift were some of the many victims of this trend. Twitter, Reddit, and some adult sites have already promised to ban deepfake videos. But the problem doesn’t end there. Some are worried that as technology gets better, it can be used to spread hoaxes, conspiracy theories, and fake news online.

Senator Mark Warner: The next wave of technology will be able to have your image with words coming out of your mouth that may not be said, or your face put on somebody else’s body in terms of next wave of technology.

Kovach: Could you imagine making a digital puppet out of Barack Obama, or Donald Trump, or Vladimir Putin? Researchers at Stanford University already did this. Imagine someone making a video like that to make a world leader declare war on another country. It’s a scary proposition. In the digital age, we’ve even seen governments use tools like Photoshop to spread propaganda, and with deepfake videos, it’s going to take the problem to a whole new level. Social networks are designed to promote content with shock value and shareability. Companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter have done little to prove that they can handle fake news.

Anchor: Facebook is the most important mechanism facilitating the spread of fake news.

Anchor: Facebook just allows us to quantify that more. How real do you think the fake news problem is?

Guest: It’s a real problem.

Anchor: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg today finally speaking out. Admitting mistakes and vowing to correct them.

Kovach: But if they already have a problem weeding out fake news articles, how are they going to handle fake news videos? Congress hasn’t shown that it’s willing to regulate the tech industry, and it’s unlikely someone else will come in and fix it before the problem gets worse.

The best advice to avoid deepfake hoaxes is the same advice to avoid all fake news and conspiracy theories. Stick to trusted news sources, that you know deliver reliable information. For now, deepfake technology isn’t that great. But we should focus on it today, because tomorrow this could look pretty real.

Via Business Insider 

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