‘Deepfake’ that supposedly fooled European politicians was just a look-alike, say pranksters

‘Deepfake’ that supposedly fooled European politicians was just a look-alike, say pranksters


Deepfakes use AI techniques to generate or manipulate videos and pictures. | Artist: William Joel

Last week, numerousnewsoutlets reported that a string of European politicians had been tricked by a sophisticated Russian plot. Parliamentarians from the UK, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia had all arranged video calls with a hoaxer claiming to be Leonid Volkov, chief of staff to imprisoned Russian anti-Putin politician Alexei Navalny. As the politicians tell it, they fell victim to a digital fake: a doppelgänger created it using “deepfake” technology to trick politicians — the latest example of Russia’s misinformation campaigns in the West.

But the Russian men who orchestrated the calls say the “deepfake” claim is itself misinformation. Speaking to The Verge, the hoaxers say their imitation Volkov was created using effects no more…

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