“Capitulation of the Ukrainian President” – Deepfake becomes a weapon of war

Deepfake videos on social media are increasingly being used as a type of war weapon that undermines trust and promotes conspiracy theories during the Russian war of aggression.

This is the central finding of a study by researchers from the University College Cork in Ireland, as reported by the German news website n-tv.de. The scientists note that for the first time, deepfake propaganda and misinformation are being deliberately deployed to influence the course of a war.

Deepfakes are technologies that manipulate digital media such as images, videos, and audio files to give the impression that events have taken place that in reality never occurred. In their study, the researchers analyzed nearly 5,000 tweets on platform X (formerly Twitter) in the first seven months of 2022 to investigate how people respond to fabricated online content. The results showed that deepfakes indeed undermine viewers’ trust in the authenticity of war-related material, leading to a general loss of confidence in all reviewed content.

A notable example of a deepfake used in the war was a video falsely depicting the surrender of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Russia. Another showed Russian President Vladimir Putin declaring peace.

Image: President.gov.ua, Meeting of the President of Ukraine with the President of the State of Israel 7, CC-BY-4.0, via Wikimedia Commons (image size changed)

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