Mar 16, 2022

Hany Farid Explains Signs that Zelenskyy Surrender Video is a Deepfake

From CNN Business

Facebook and YouTube say they removed Zelensky deepfake

By Rachel Metz

Facebook and YouTube said Wednesday that they removed uploads of a deepfake video of Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky that purported to show him yielding to Russia.

The deepfake spread widely online Wednesday, as noticed earlier by Vice's Motherboard. In the video, which CNN Business has reviewed, Zelensky appears to stand behind a presidential podium and in front of a backdrop, both of which feature the Ukranian coat of arms. Wearing a green shirt, Zelensky speaks in Ukranian, appearing to tell Ukranians to put down their weapons in the weeks-old war against Russia...

Hany Farid, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and digital forensics expert, pointed out several of the obvious signs that the video is a deepfake. First, it's a low-quality, low-resolution recording; this is a common trick to hide the distortions created when making a deepfake, as our brains tend to be more forgiving of glitches in low-quality videos. Second, the Zelensky in the video looks straight ahead without moving his arms throughout the clip — it's very tricky to make a convincing deepfake that includes head motions and hands moving in front of the face. Third, there are little visual inconsistencies in the video, he pointed out, that occur during the process of making a deepfake, which is created a single frame at a time. Though Zelensky's voice is harder for Farid to comment on, in part because he doesn't speak Ukranian, he said it sounds a bit off to him.

Read more from Prof. Hany Farid and other experts...

Hany Farid is a professor of information and electrical engineering & computer sciences at UC Berkeley.

Last updated:

March 21, 2022