Zelenskyy deepfake crude, but still might be a harbinger of dangers ahead

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Mar 18, 2022 | CYBERSCOOP

Several deepfake video experts called a doctored video of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that went viral this week before social media platforms removed it a poorly executed example of the form, but nonetheless damaging.

Several elements of the Zelenskyy deepfake — which purported to show him calling for surrender — made it easy to debunk, they said. But that won’t always be the case.

Soon after Facebook announced Wednesday that it had quickly taken down the doctored video of Zelenskyy calling on Ukrainians to surrender, Shane Huntley, who manages and leads Google’s Threat Analysis Group, tweeted that what the Zelenskyy video “may end up showing is that people are actually pretty aware of how easy it is to fake videos and how quickly they get reported and taken down.”

That is a view which some disinformation experts refuted, noting that the Zelenskyy video was not representative of the typical deepfake. It was poorly made, involved a high-profile figure and had been “pre-bunked” by Zelenskyy’s administration, making it less effective than many such videos.

“While crude fakes might be easy to detect, debunk, and take down, this doesn’t mean that more

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