With the US political season quickly approaching you may start to hear about something called “deepfakes”. While it has important privacy and political ramifications, what does it mean to your business and your brand?

What is a Deepfake?

Let’s start by explaining what exactly a “deepfake” is. A deepfake uses advanced imaging and AI algorithms along with a large sample set of photos to transpose some else’s face on another video. The videos are extremely convincing under the right circumstances.  They can also be combined with faked audio to create a very convincing video that is entirely fabricated.
Initially deepfakes have been used fairly light-heartedly to superimpose Arnold Schwarzenegger’s face on Bill Hader or insert Nicolas Cage into classic movie scenes. But while the technology may be in its infancy, it’s already extremely convincing. While most videos have a eerie feeling, you can’t quite put your finger on, we expect in the very near future fakes might become indistinguishable from the real thing.

These deepfaked videos can be used maliciously, to spread disinformation and lies. Combining deepfaked videos with a public that is ready and willing to accept news with very little supporting evidence, the results could sway political allegiances or further erode the public’s trust about what they see online.

Used in a political setting these videos can have a huge impact. Imagine the effect of a personally damaging video released right before an election, even if discovered to be a fake the damage could already have been done. It’s a potentially scary future and the ease of access to the technology to create them makes misuse that much more likely.

What does this mean for your Business?

But what does all of this mean for businesses? Well, if someone is inclined, they can potentially sabotage brands by putting words into their CEO’s mouths or  having political/celebrity figures make damaging comments about those brands. Slander and libel can have hugely damaging effects on brands, but what if that Slander and Libel is coming from your own CEO or a well-known figure?

For smaller companies the major risk is typically related to social media. You will want to ensure that whoever is managing your brand online is especially diligent in verifying video authenticity and is equipped to respond to fake content. Viewing fake content is bad but retweeting or spreading that fake content is even worse. You don’t want to be taken in by a ruse as the damage to the integrity of your brand can be immense.

In this day and age, you have to be extra diligent in verifying that the information you post or retweet is in fact real. Especially if videos or content seem too good to be true. For now, it’s just important to maintain diligence and be aware that these videos exist and are a potential threat.

We have no doubts that you will be hearing more about this in the future, especially as the technology advances.

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