What Are Deepfakes & How to Spot Them

AI and machine learning have been some of the most talked-about technologies in the last decade. However, these technologies are also being misused to create dangerous and undesirable products such as deepfakes.

A deepfake is an AI-generated video created to mislead the public or spread fake news and misinformation. If such a video is shared on social media, a significant number of people may not realize that it is fake. So, why do people create deepfakes?

Some reasons for creating deepfakes are the following:

• Blackmailing the subject in the video
• Phishing data
• Spreading misinformation and propaganda, especially on political issues
• Financial fraud
• Used by Ponzi schemes to convince people to join them
• Election manipulation

It’s not hard to spot a deepfake video. Here are some signs that you need to watch out for:

1. Audio and video are not synced: Most of the deepfakes’ creators spend more time on the video and forget to fully sync it with the audio. If you notice the lips of the character are not in sync with the words being said, then the chances of that video being a deepfake are high.

2. Awkward facial positioning: By nature, the different parts of our face are aligned in a certain way and will uniformly expand or contract depending on the emotion at play. With deepfakes, you will often notice an unnatural movement of the mouth, nose, and eyes.

3. Unnatural look when the video is played in slow motion: Deepfakes are usually created using the average speed of human behaviour. However, when you slow the video down, it will be much easier to see the fake frames of images used to create it.

4. Look at the lighting effects: Advanced digital cameras can easily isolate shadows and highlights in a video. However, it is really hard for an AI-generated video to simulate the shadows and highlights based on the lighting conditions in the video. So, when you look closely, it should be quite easy to spot the inconsistent pattern of shadows and highlights on the video.

5. Watch the video on a big screen: At times, it is hard to spot some of the signs we have just discussed on the small screens of our smartphones. However, when the video is stretched out on a large screen, it is much easier to see if it’s deepfake or not.

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