High-quality deepfakes are infiltrating social media apps like TikTok and Facebook, which have millions of users globally. A deepfake is an unauthorized digital twin of an individual created by a (often) malicious actor. They are created through deep learning AI technology, which replaces a person’s likeness with a digital replica. It can simulate speech, actions, and emotions.
Most deepfakes consist of superimposing a celebrity’s head onto actors in pornographic videos. Using this technology, you can make anyone do anything and share the videos. If you can make anything look real in a virtual space, like in the nascent metaverse for example, then deciding what is real will become near impossible.
Fake celebrities on social media
A Tik Tok account claiming to be set up by Robert Pattinson amassed over 600,000 followers a few weeks after being set up in late March 2022. This struck many people as odd, as the Hollywood star had famously stated that he did not want to take part in social media in 2019. Sure enough, the videos were deepfakes and the account has since been deleted.
Apparently, the ears gave it away. The facial modeling software used to create these deepfakes often exclude ear shape, as this is unique to the individual and hard to replicate—sort of like how certain artists avoid painting hands due to the level of complexity.