Amid the information warfare between Russia and Ukraine, a deepfake video falsely showing Ukrainian President Zelensky’s surrender makes rounds on the internet. In the video, the President is falsely shown directing his soldiers to surrender in the country’s ongoing conflict with Russia. It has appeared on popular platforms, including Facebook and Telegram this moment.
Deepfake is a popular term referring to fabricated videos made using AI algorithms. These videos are especially dangerous because of how real they seem. Until now, many celebrities have been the subject of such fakes.
Thankfully, the fabricated video featuring Zelensky has been taken down from Facebook. Head of Security Policy, Meta, Nathaniel Gleicher, announced that the social media giant took down the deepfake video for violation of its policies against “misleading manipulated media.”
The Russia-Ukraine war takes place on multiple fronts, the internet being one of them. Consequently, multiple reports have debunked the disinformation coming from both sides. A decade-old video from the Israel-Palestine conflict went viral with the label of Ukrainian resistance. Another instance involved the circulation of video game footage claimed to be that of a Ukrainian pilot.
Coming back to the latest disinformation incident, the Zelensky deepfake is reportedly still up on Russia’s social media platform, VKontakte. Alarmingly, it is also gaining traction quite quickly.
Knowing the nature of the internet, anything that goes viral once becomes unthinkably hard to remove as innumerable copies emerge. This makes disinformation seem particularly scary and atrociously potent. And, in this day and age, it could easily swing public opinion and tilt a conflict in one’s favor.