You’re scrolling through a social media feed when you see a video of what appears to be renowned actor Morgan Freeman. But the actor in the video clip is announcing that he isn’t who you think he is. The images look just like Freeman and the voice, well, it seems spot on. But the audio proclaims that you’ve been had.

What’s going on?

What is a Deepfake

Welcome to the world of “deepfakes,” where what you see may not be what you get, thanks to the seeming “magic” of artificial intelligence. Deepfakes use artificial intelligence, also known as AI, to swap the likeness of one person with the likeness of another with matching video and audio. The results are illusory.

The problem is that many deepfakes are used for illicit purposes to convince someone that you said or did something you did not. And as technology improves with leaps and bounds, it gets harder and harder to spot a deepfake.

One of the common abuses is AI generated porn. What happens is that someone uses specialized software to swap the face of an unknown porn star with the face of a famous actor. The result is a sleazy marriage between reality and fiction.

The danger of these deepfakes is that they can be used to generate fake videos and fake news that make it very difficult to determine what is fact and what is fiction. The whole purpose of a deepfake is to convince someone that you said or did something you didn’t. Refuting these videos can be daunting because they look so real.

Among the uses for deepfakes? 

  • AI-generated porn
  • Political propaganda
  • Public shaming

Altering photos with programs like Photoshop is nothing new. However, the big difference between photos that are altered with photo editing software and AI is that traditional photo editing requires human involvement every step of the way. With AI, a computer takes over the entire process and produces an end product, without incremental involvement from a human. And because machine learning improves with every task, it gets harder and harder to separate the fakes from the fiction.

Crisis Communications and AI

The growing use of deepfakes is a crisis in the making. Any time false information is presented as truth, problems are bound to crop up, which is why it’s important to have a crisis response plan in place before you need one. Knowing what to do, who to contact and how respond on social media when an emergency occurs is key to weathering the storm.

Red Banyan crisis PR reacts with lightning speed to take charge of scenarios that could damage a business’s reputation if the narrative is allowed to move forward unchecked. Crisis communications experts work quickly to take control of the narrative and shape it in the most favorable light. Their goal is to minimize damage at all times.  Crisis communications agencies are known for their razor-sharp messaging. 

The hocus pocus factor that is involved with deepfakes can result in any number of crises. 

Knowing When to Ask for Help

A situation involving a deepfake can spiral out of control fast which is why it is important to know when you need expert help. Do you know what to look for when trying to identify a deepfake? 

Clues to determining whether a video is fake are blurry details; skin, hair and faces that are too soft; unnatural lighting from a previous background; and words and sounds that don’t seem to match up.

If you aren’t sure how to proceed, contact Red Banyan crisis PR for guidance. Red Banyan has the experienced crisis communications professionals who can help you nip a brewing crisis in the bud.

What is a deepfake?

Deepfakes are a synthetic media created by machine-learning algorithms named for the deep-learning methods used in the creation process and the fake events they depict.  

What are deepfakes used for?

Deepfakes often transform existing source content where one person is swapped for another.

How are deepfakes made?

Deepfake content is created by using two algorithms that compete with one another. One is called a generator and the other one is called a discriminator. The generator creates the fake digital content and asks the discriminator to find out if the content is real or artificial. Each

Is creating deepfakes illegal?

But despite some states taking steps forward, there is no federal law tackling deepfake porn, which means the ability to bring criminal or civil charges against an individual differs between states and certain illegal conduct in one state may not be illegal in another.

Need help with a brewing ai crisis? Red Banyan can help.