Tech

Here’s How Deepfakes, Like the One BJP Used, Twist the Truth

The internet has become a murky cesspool of disinformation and fake news. AI-generated fake videos are the latest weapon.
February 20, 2020, 12:47pm

This article originally appeared on VICE India.

When VICE broke the viral story of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) using deepfakes for their Delhi elections campaigning, it set off nationwide concerns and a tweetstorm.

While experts are looking into what is possibly the first time that deepfakes have been used for a political campaign in the world, the biggest concern is how easy it is for a political party—or anyone for that matter—to use AI to make fake videos. Two manipulated videos of BJP’s Delhi chief Manoj Tiwari, one in which he is talking in Haryanvi and another in English, were shared in over 5,800 WhatsApp groups in Delhi, reaching approximately 15 million people.

In India, one of the first cases of deepfakes came from Mumbai, where a girl’s face was morphed on to a porn clip. But as recent history has proven, the internet has become a murky cesspool of disinformation and fake news. And deepfakes are the latest weapon in the larger scheme of things, carrying the power to change our very understanding of truth. Watch the explainer above to understand how deepfakes are created, and what they can do to our sense of reality.

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