Zuckerberg Deepfake Video Left Up by Facebook as Concern About the Tech Grows

Photo Credit: JOHN G MABANGLO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
June 12, 2019
7h ago

By Rebecca Heilweil

A deepfake video of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently uploaded to Instagram is increasing awareness of the technology's dangers but also raising concerns as to how social platforms will address its growing prominence.

The video, published five days ago, portrays Zuckerberg menacingly discussing the collection of data.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, won't remove the video, per its platform's policies. The company also wouldn't delete a deepfake video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, though the video was de-prioritized so that fewer users would see it.

"It's really moving from the information age to the disinformation age," Rick McElroy, the head of Security Strategy for Carbon Black told Cheddar. "It's fairly sophisticated. We're at the precipice of being able to come up with fake voice. That technology exists. And the power of the cloud is going to drive that cost down to do it."

The video was created by the Tel Aviv-based advertising company Canny AI, along with artists Bill Posters and Daniel Howe.

Canny AI offers clients "video-dialogue replacement" (which was used to create the Zuckerberg video), "video lip-sync," and a service that localizes videos through translating them into different languages.

The same company also produced deepfake videos featuring Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump. A video on Vimeo published three weeks ago, also apparently produced by Canny, depicts world leaders including Vladmir Putin, Donald Trump, and Benjamin Netanyahu 'singing' John Lennon's "Imagine."

"It was a great awareness campaign, in the end. We're on mainstream media talking about this," said McElroy, referring to the Zuckerberg video. "What it goes to show is that we don't actually have adequate-enough policies in place to prevent these things. And we can't detect them and get rid of them fast enough."

He emphasized that a key part of fighting deepfakes will be ensuring that audiences are familiar with the phenomenon, and know how to look for clues that a video isn't legitimate.

He added that a more long-term, comprehensive solution will require coordination between public and private actors, adding: "we're writing those protocols as we speak."