Meta removed an altered video falsely depicting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ordering troops to surrender Wednesday. The video is the latest alarming milestone in the parallel information war accompanying Russia’s brutal invasion of neighboring Ukraine, but it was a moment that Ukraine’s government and social media companies appear to have been prepared for.
Meta Head of Security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher explained that the company removed the content for breaking its rules against “manipulated media,” a form of multimedia misinformation that often manifests as video edited to depict a public figure saying something that they never actually said.
The misleading video was intercepted by Meta fairly quickly, but is apparently circulating widely on Facebook’s Russian counterpart VKontakte, according to the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. DFRLab also observed that a pro-Russia Telegram channel published a deepfake Wednesday depicting Zelensky calling on the country to surrender.
National TV network Ukraine 24 also reported that its news ticker was hacked on Wednesday to similar ends. The ticker showed a message purportedly from Zelensky calling on the people of Ukraine to end their resistance against Russian invading forces.