What are deepfake videos and what does the law say? | The Sun

DEEPFAKES have become more commonplace in peoples' newsfeeds and as technology continues to evolve, the harder it is to differentiate what is reality.

The legalities surrounding the manipulative imagery have been brought into question as deepfakes can be used to deceive audiences.

What are Deepfake videos?

Deepfake videos are made using a blend of artificial intelligence and computer imagery to create a manipulated version of a real person.

The technology can create convincing but fictional photos or videos from scratch.

Voice clones are usually dubbed into the video to make it more authentic too.

The term "deepfake" comes from the underlying artificial intelligence technology called "deep learning".

There are several ways to make deepfakes but the most common method uses deep neural networks involving autoencoders to create a face swap.

An example of a fake video is one created in 2019 of Boris Johnson.

The clip emerged online to show the then-prime minister and Jeremy Corbyn endorsing each other to lead the UK.

In the deepfake he is seen saying: "My friends, I wish to rise above [divisions over Brexit] and endorse my worthy opponent, the Right Honourable Jeremy Corbyn."

In the then-Labour leader's clip, he appears to say: "I'm urging all Labour members and supporters to… back Boris Johnson to continue as our prime minster."

Another example includes a clip from 2017, which was doctored to show Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussing stolen data.

Zuckerburg's voice, which was replaced by an actor, says: "Imagine this for one second.

"One man, with total control of billions of people's stolen data, all their secrets, their lives, their futures."

As time goes on, experts claim deepfakes will become more sophisticated and might introduce serious threats to the public relating to election interference, political tension, and criminal activity.

What have social media companies said about the videos?

When the Zuckerberg deepfake emerged in 2017, Instagram resisted calls to take the clip down.

Speaking at the time, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, said removing the doctored clips was "inappropriate".

He told CBS: "I don't feel good about it."

Mosseri said Instagram would not remove the videos because the company had not yet come up with an official policy on AI-altered videos.

He said: "We are trying to evaluate if we wanted to do that and if so, how you would define deepfakes.

"If a million people see a video like that in the first 24 hours or the first 48 hours, the damage is done.

"So that conversation, though very important, currently, is moot."

Three-years-ago, Facebook banned deepfake videos that were likely to mislead viewers in the run-up to the 2020 US election.

However, the policy only covered misinformation produced using AI.

According to Vox, Twitter was also taking steps to ban harmful deepfakes.

Are the videos legal?

Deepfake videos are legal.

However, depending on what is contained in the video they could potentially breach legal codes.

For example, if they are pornographic face-swap videos or photos, the victim will be able to claim defamation or copyright.

In 2022, the BBC reported a planned new law would make sharing pornographic deepfakes without consent a crime in England and Wales.

But as it stands, it is not illegal to create deepfake videos of celebrities making fake controversial statements.

Deepfakes – what are they, and how do they work?

Here’s what you need to know…

  • Deepfakes use artificial intelligence and machine learning to produce face-swapped videos with barely any effort
  • They can be used to create realistic videos that make celebrities appear as though they're saying something they didn't
  • Deepfakes have also been used by sickos to make fake porn videos that feature the faces of celebrities or ex-lovers
  • To create the videos, users first track down an XXX clip featuring a porn star that looks like an actress
  • They then feed an app with hundreds – and sometimes thousands – of photos of the victim's face
  • A machine learning algorithm swaps out the faces frame-by-frame until it spits out a realistic, but fake, video
  • To help other users create these videos, pervs upload "facesets", which are huge computer folders filled with a celebrity's face that can be easily fed through the "deepfakes" app
  • Simon Miles, of intellectual property specialists Edwin Coe, told The Sun that the fake sex tapes could be considered an "unlawful intrusion" into the privacy of a celeb
  • He also added that celebrities could request that the content be taken down, but warned: "The difficulty is that damage has already been done

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