The Dangers of Deepfakes: Understanding and Identifying Modern Forgery

Exploring the Concept of Deepfakes

Advancements in technology have brought forth new ways to manipulate digital media contents, what we now call as Deepfakes. These are convincing videos or audios made using artificial intelligence and deep learning algorithms, presenting someone doing or saying something that never happened. While initially done as a way to create memes or satirical videos, these can also be used for malicious purposes, such as political propaganda or personal revenge.

Creating a Deepfake takes an extensive amount of time, resources, and know-how in artificial intelligence. One would need to gather various video and audio sources of the target, build the neural network, and train the model with the materials. Deepfakes usually require multiple images or videos of the target from various angles, taking hours of preparation, and computing intensive to study the tiny nuances of the person’s face or voice.

While Deepfakes are relatively new, they have gained notoriety because of being used in the wrong way. Most of our laws and policies don’t have specific provisions for Deepfakes, and it’s still a gray area in terms of how to regulate it.

The Most Outrageous Deepfake Videos

Deepfakes’ potential for propaganda has made people all over the world concerned about the dangers of Deepfakes. Deepfakes could spread lies, confuse people about what is real or fabricated, or even destabilize political institutions. Here are the five most outrageous Deepfake videos that went viral:

  1. Tom Cruise on TikTok. A deepfake video of Tom Cruise went viral on TikTok, featuring him playing golf and performing a magic trick. This video was so effective that even Cruise’s fans were convinced it was genuine.
  2. Barack Obama. Deepfakes of former President Barack Obama spread throughout the internet, with one video featuring him denouncing President Trump.
  3. Mark Zuckerberg. A video of Mark Zuckerberg on Instagram showed him talking about how he controlled data from billions of people and stole their “secrets.”
  4. Nicolas Cage. A deepfake video of Nicolas Cage playing Superman also went viral, showing how these technologies could be not only harmful but also playful.
  5. Queen Elizabeth II. A deepfake video of the queen aired on Christmas Day in 2020 and gained a lot of attention because it looked like she was dancing to a Christmas song.

These videos tricked people because they looked realistic, and people assumed they were real. Deepfakes’ effectiveness made it clear that the technology could, in some cases, be used to create believable lies.

Ethical and Legal Implications of Deepfakes

Deepfakes have ethical and legal implications that must be considered. One of the biggest concerns is the misuse of Deepfakes and their potential to harm individuals and societies. Malicious Deepfakes can spread misinformation or propaganda to destabilize countries, manipulate elections, or damage commercial brands. Additionally, Deepfakes can be used for revenge or bullying and violate people’s privacy and mental wellbeing.

Another concern is the criminal use of Deepfakes. It can be used to commit fraud or steal access to personal information. Deepfakes can also be used to create child pornography or sexual harassment, leading to severe legal consequences.

There is also the issue of consent. Someone’s likeness or voice must not be used without their permission. Nevertheless, it’s tough to track down someone who creates a Deepfake, which creates challenges on legal matters.

The solutions for these ethical and legal implications are not straightforward. The government should come up with laws that deal with Deepfake with strict penalties for offenders. Also, the public should be aware of the risk and take caution of the information they consume. Technology companies like Facebook and Google should fund research on detection methods and develop tools that help users identify Deepfakes.

Tips for Identifying Deepfakes

As Deepfakes become more advanced, it can be challenging to distinguish the real from the fake. However, some signs may give away the authenticity of a video or audio file. One thing to check is whether the audio’s voice is in sync with the lips. If there is a mismatch between the pronunciation of words and lip movements, it’s likely is a Deepfake video. Also, be aware of the source; if it’s from an untrusted source, the content may not be genuine. Use reverse image searches to find other places the same image appears or verify the source of a video.

Expert Perspectives on Deepfakes

To get more insights into Deepfakes, we spoke with experts in computer science and film-making.

Jeffery D. Dallas, a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois, is working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Kansas State University. He said, “Deepfakes have become incredibly accessible, and training models is easier now than ever before. On the other hand, deepfakes are essentially a form of lying, and we faced deception from the time of our birth, and presumably we’ll continue to face it long after our deaths as our words and image can continue to propagate via the internet.”

Academy Award-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio also weighed in on the issue. In an interview with Business Insider, he said, “It’s a matter of humanity. We have to tell people it’s a fake when we see it. We have to educate our future generation that this stuff exists.”

Review of Popular Deepfake Software

Over the past few years, several Deepfake software options have emerged online. Some are free, while others are much more expensive. Here is a review of some Deepfake software that has become popular:

  • DeepFaceLab. DeepFaceLab is a Deepfake software that uses a deep neural network and TensorFlow to achieve impressive results. One of the best features of DeepFaceLab is its extensive community of users, which provides regular updates and improvements to the software.
  • AI Dungeon. This is a fun application that uses Natural Language Processing to generate interactive stories based on user’s prompts.
  • Zao. Zao allows users to turn themselves into movie stars, supermodels, or their favorite celebrities by uploading selfies or pictures of them into the app.

Deepfake software like these have some obvious concerns. They can be misused by people with negative intentions. Also, these tools are becoming more accessible, and it’s hard to keep an eye on everyone who is using this sort of technology.


Deepfakes can harm individuals and society immensely, and it’s a concern that lawmakers and technology experts must take seriously. Law enforcement should make sure to come up with stricter provisions that support the laws against Deepfakes. The community must also be educated in the technology behind it and how to spot manipulated images, videos, and audios.

As technology continues to evolve, we must remain vigilant about how it’s used and what its implications are. Let us protect ourselves from deceptive technologies like Deepfakes, so we won’t fall into being one of its victims.

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