In a video posted to Instagram on June 7, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg appears to give a chilling speech about his company’s plans for your data. However, when it comes to this clip appearances really are deceiving.
The video shows Zuckerberg sitting at a desk while broadcast chyrons run below him, making the clip look like something from a TV news program. “Imagine this for a second,” he seems to say, “One man, with total control over millions of people’s stolen data, all their secrets, their lives, their futures. I owe it all to Spectre. Spectre showed me that whoever controls the data, controls the future.”
You can watch the full, bizarre video below:
As reported in Motherboard, the video was created by the artists Bill Posters and Daniel Howe in collaboration with CannyAI, an Israeli startup.
The original footage of Mark Zuckerberg that was used to create this realistic-looking deepfake was taken from the September 2017 statement the CEO made concerning his company’s role in Russian interference in the 2016 election. You can watch that full address below:
Posters and Howe, the artists behind this deepfake, created it as part of a larger installation called Spectre. On the project’s website, Posters writes, “Spectre interrogates and reveals many of the common tactics and methods that are used by corporate or political actors to influence people’s behaviours and decision making.”
Posters and Howe created several other fake videos to demonstrate the dangers of this technology using popular figures like Kim Kardashian and President Donald Trump.
These uncanny fakes come on the heels of Facebook’s decision not to take down doctored videos of Nancy Pelosi in which the House Speaker appeared to be drunk. The “Drunk Pelosi” videos went viral last month after being slowed down by 75% to make the Speaker sound intoxicated.
Despite acknowledging that the “Drunk Pelosi” video was a fake, Facebook declined to remove it from their platform. In a statement to The Washington Post, the social networking site said, “We don’t have a policy that stipulates that the information you post on Facebook must be true.” They went on to say that they would try to reduce how often the fake video appeared in newsfeeds and would add a fact-checking pop up with additional information when users click the video.
So far, it looks like Facebook is sticking to their guns on this policy. The deepfake of Zuckerberg posted to Instagram, which Facebook owns, shows the CEO in a dreadful light. Though Facebook has not yet commented on this particular video, Forbes reports that Neil Potts, Facebook’s director of public policy has said before that the platform would not remove a deepfake of Zuckerberg.
Deepfakes are falsified videos created using existing footage and artificial intelligence to make it appear that someone said or did something they did not do. As technology improves and deepfakes get more and more convincing, many are concerned over their potential to be used for propaganda and misinformation campaigns.
Facebook’s refusal to remove demonstrably fake content is also concerning to many critics of the company. Instead, it has always been Facebook’s policy to show fake news less in user timelines, adding fact checking disclaimers around it. However, after her doctored video went viral, Nancy Pelosi called Facebook, “willing enablers” in Russian election meddling.