Released on Friday, the Zao app went viral as Chinese users seized on the chance to see themselves act out scenes from well-known movies using deepfake technology, which has already prompted concerns elsewhere over potential misuse.
As of Monday afternoon it remained the top free download in China, according to the app market data provider App Annie.
Concerns over deepfakes have grown since the 2016 US election campaign, which saw wide use of online misinformation, according to US investigations.
In June, Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, said the social network was struggling to find ways to deal with deepfake videos, saying they may constitute “a completely different category” of misinformation than anything faced before.
more on deepfake in this IMS blog
more on #fakenews and audio/video in this this IMS blog
deep fake: definition
What are “deepfakes?”
That’s the nickname given to computer-created artificial videos or other digital material in which images are combined to create new footage that depicts events that never actually happened. The term originates from the online message board Reddit.
One initial use of the fake videos was in amateur-created pornography, in which the faces of famous Hollywood actresses were digitally placed onto that of other performers to make it appear as though the stars themselves were performing.
How difficult is it to create fake media?
It can be done with specialized software, experts say, the same way that editing programs such as Photoshop have made it simpler to manipulate still images. And specialized software itself isn’t necessary for what have been dubbed “shallow fakes” or “cheap fakes.”
Researchers also say they are working on new ways to speed up systems aimed at helping establish when video or audio has been manipulated. But it’s been called a “cat and mouse” game in which there may seldom be exact parity between fabrication and detection.
At least one state has considered legislation that would outlaw distributing election-oriented fake videos.
more on fake news in this IMS blog
The Psychology Of Fake News
March 27, 201810:21 AM ET TANIA LOMBROZO
During the past two years, fake news has been a frequent topic of real news, with articles considering the role of social media in spreading fake news, the advent of fake videos and the role these play in the political process.
Lazer, D. M. J., Baum, M. A., Benkler, Y., Berinsky, A. J., Greenhill, K. M., Menczer, F., … Zittrain, J. L. (2018). The science of fake news. Science
(6380), 1094–1096. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aao2998
Baum and David Lazer, M. A. (2017, May 11). Social media must be held to account on fake news. Winnipeg Free Press (MB). p. A7.
In a paper
published in March in the journal Science
, David Lazer, Matthew Baum and 14 co-authors consider what we do and don’t know about the science of fake news. They define fake news as “fabricated information that mimics news media content in form but not in organizational process or intent,”
and they go on to discuss problems at multiple levels: individual, institutional and societal. What do we know about individuals’ exposure to fake news and its influence upon them? How can Internet platforms help limit the dissemination of fake news? And most fundamentally: How can we succeed in creating and perpetuating a culture that values and promotes truth?
, professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences at Brown University, and one of the paper’s 16 authors. Sloman is also author of The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone
, a book about the merits and failings of our collaborative minds, published in 2017 with co-author Philip Fernbach.
Sloman, S. A. (2017). The knowledge illusion: Why we never think alone. New York: Riverhead Books.