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Another Wednesday, another devastating example of deepfake technology


A story I saw this afternoon at Digital Trends is another tap in the drum roll of computational propaganda and deepfake technology. Click on the Instagram video above and prepare to be amazed. This is what an artificial video product from CannyAI can do.

CannyAI, an Israeli digital video company, upped the stakes on a few things. First, they upped the profile of the public figure being depicted. Instead of faking President Trump or some other political figure, they chose Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Their technology makes it look like Zuck is happy to exploit your personal data on the orders of Spectre, a global criminal organization from the world of James Bond. The tech is so good that the fake message that looks quite real–especially if you’re not really paying attention.

Next, they executed the perfect newsjack (where you use a breaking or developing news story or trend as a context to talk about your product or service). This video is a stiff jab to Facebook’s chin, and a complete victory for CannyAI. It forces a giant like Zuckerberg to rethink or tweak his policy while demonstrating how good CannyAI’s product is.

Finally, they upped the stakes on Facebook’s suicidal tendency to try to be everything to everyone, in this case as “free”-speech warrior.  In the wake of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s deepfake video, Google and Twitter moved promptly to do the responsible thing–delete the fake video from their servers. Facebook said they’d leave the video up, despite knowing it was fake. “We remove things from Facebook that violate our Community Standards, and we don’t have a policy that stipulates that the information you post on Facebook must be true” was the exact quote from the company representative who drew the short straw to publicly stand behind the policy.

I understand you need some type of policy to create space for comedy, fiction and satire. But the Pelosi deepfake was developed for character assassination, not any of the above. Doing the right thing shouldn’t be an impediment to legal compliance.

Get the popcorn, let’s see how this plays out.


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