Deepfake presidents used in Russia-Ukraine war

Deepfake presidents used in Russia-Ukraine war

Deepfake presidents used in Russia-Ukraine war

The deepfake appeared on the hacked website of Ukrainian TV network Ukrayina 24

A deepfake video shared on Twitter, appearing to show Russian President Vladimir Putin declaring peace, has resurfaced.

Meanwhile, this week Meta and YouTube have taken down a deepfake video of Ukraine’s president talking of surrendering to Russia.

As both sides use manipulated media, what do these videos reveal about the state of misinformation in the conflict?


And are people really believing them?

The unconvincing fake of President Zelensky was ridiculed by many Ukrainians.

Volodymr Zelensky appears behind a podium, telling Ukrainians to put down their weapons. His head appears too large for and more pixelated than his body – and his voice sounds deeper.


In a video posted to his official Instagram account, the real President Zelensky calls it a “childish provocation”.


But the Ukrainian Center for Strategic Communications had warned the Russian government may well use deepfakes to convince Ukrainians to surrender.

The video of Putin has circulated for some weeks and was labelled as manipulated media by Twitter

In a Twitter thread, Meta security-policy head Nathaniel Gleicher said it had “quickly reviewed and removed” the deepfake for violating its policy against misleading manipulated media.


YouTube also said it had been removed for violating misinformation policies.


It had been an easy win for the social-media companies, Nina Schick, author of the book Deepfakes, said, because the video was so crude and easily spotted as fake even by “semi-sophisticated viewers”.


“The platforms can make a big hoo-ha about dealing with this,” she said, “when they aren’t doing more on other forms of disinformation.


“There are so many other forms of disinformation in this war which haven’t been debunked.


“Even though this video was really bad and crude, that won’t be the case in the near future.”


And it would still “erode trust in authentic media”.


“People start to believe that everything can be faked,” Ms Schick said


“It is a new weapon and a potent form of visual disinformation – and anyone can do it.”