Jun 18, 2024

Hany Farid Pens Op-Ed About Fake G7 Summit Biden Videos


Why the fake Biden videos flooding social media are more insidious than they appear

By Hany Farid

Before there were deepfakes, there were cheapfakes; now there are both. Last week, social media was suddenly awash in videos pushed by unscrupulous Republican accounts edited to play up stereotypes about President Joe Biden’s age. Media outlets, too, promoted the clips, with the New York Post recently claiming to have footage showing Biden wandering off in a daze during the G7 summit in Italy. In reality, Biden was congratulating a skydiver who had just landed but was not visible in the frame. A week later, the Post published a similarly deceptively edited video claiming to show Biden frozen onstage at a fundraiser. The full video shows this did not happen.

All forms of fakes are being used to influence elections both here in the U.S. and abroad. But while some rules and regulations are being developed to fight deepfakes, we may be less prepared to mitigate the risks of their easier-to-create and harder-to-detect cousins.

Deepfakes encompass images and videos that are created or modified almost entirely by AI-powered technologies. Cheapfakes are real images or videos that are simply misattributed or deceptively edited. Their power is in their simplicity...


Hany Farid is a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences and the School of Information at UC Berkeley and a senior advisor to the Counter Extremism Project.

Last updated: June 21, 2024