Tamara Yesmin Toma

Researcher, Dismislab
Deepfake videos of politicians spreading on Facebook
This article is more than 8 months old

Deepfake videos of politicians spreading on Facebook

Tamara Yesmin Toma

Researcher, Dismislab

Deepfake videos of politicians are spreading across Facebook. Dismislab recently unveiled two such deepfake videos featuring political figures: Nipun Roy Chowdhury, member of the BNP Central Executive Committee, and Rashed Iqbal Khan, acting president of Bangladesh Jatiotabadi Chatra Dal (JCD). These videos have been debunked and traced back to their origins as products of deepfake technology and AI-generated content.

One such instance involves a deepfake video that surfaced on July 30. This video featured the face of BNP leader Nipun Roy superimposed onto a scene from a web series. This fabricated content gained traction through multiple posts and reels (1, 2, 3) shared on Facebook. However, subsequent analysis by Dismislab revealed that the original footage starred Indian actress Sohini Sarkar and had been deceptively repurposed to portray Nipun Roy.

Similarly, another manipulated video of Bangladesh Jatiotabadi Chatra Dal leader Rashed Iqbal Khan emerged on social media platforms (1, 2, 3). In this case, an image of Khan was manipulated into a video format, incorporating elements of AI-generated audio.

It is noteworthy that the video displayed the logo of D-ID, indicating the use of generative AI technology. This technology, as exemplified by D-ID, possesses the capability to transform static images into dynamic videos featuring AI avatars. Further inquiry established that the initial image of Rashed Iqbal Khan had been uploaded to his Facebook page on February 21. Various media outlets subsequently used this image (1, 2, 3), which was later adapted for the deceptive video using the D-ID app.

Upon closer examination of the content, inconsistencies surfaced. The video falsely declared Rashed Iqbal Khan’s age as 47. But according to a media report, official records indicate his birth year as 1987. In an interview, Khan himself affirmed that he completed his HSC in 2005 at Dhaka’s Residential Model College.

Instances of deepfake manipulation, as illustrated, are not isolated cases. In the past, fact-checking organizations have uncovered similar fabrications, such as a video featuring BNP leader Rumin Farhana. Moreover, the recent circulation of AI-generated fake images featuring former US President Donald Trump underscores the exploitation of AI-generated content to disrupt public discourse.

At a congressional hearing in Washington, Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, the company that developed ChatGPT, stated that the models behind the most recent generation of AI technology could manipulate consumers.

The head of foundation AI research at UK’s Alan Turing Institute, Prof. Michael Wooldridge told the Guardian that his biggest concern with the technology was AI-driven disinformation.

He also said, “Right now in terms of my worries for AI, it is number one on the list. We have elections coming up in the UK and the US and we know social media is an incredibly powerful conduit for misinformation. But we now know that generative AI can produce disinformation on an industrial scale.”