Skip to content
Apply
Stories

Deepfakes and fake news pose a growing threat to democracy, experts warn

People in this story

In mid-March, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine crept into its third week, an unusual video started making the rounds on social media and was even broadcast on the television channel Ukraine 24 due to the efforts of hackers. The video appeared to show Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, stilted with his head moving and his body largely motionless, calling on the citizens of his country to stop fighting Russian soldiers and to surrender their weapons. He had already fled Kyiv, the video claimed.

Except, those weren’t the words of the real Zelenskyy. The video was a “deepfake,” or content constructed using artificial intelligence. In a deepfake, individuals train computers to mimic real people to make what appears to be an authentic video. Shortly after the deepfake was broadcast, it was debunked by Zelenskyy himself, removed from prominent online sources like Facebook and YouTube, and ridiculed by Ukrainians for its poor quality, according to the Atlantic Council.

However, just because the video was quickly discredited doesn’t mean it didn’t cause harm. In a world increasingly politically polarized, in which consumers of media may believe information that reinforces their biases, regardless of the content’s apparent legitimacy, deepfakes pose a significant threat, warns Northeastern University computer science and philosophy professor Don Fallis.

Continue reading at News@Northeastern.

More Stories

image of robert deleo behind podium

Northeastern’s Robert DeLeo to be honored with Roosevelt Award at annual Massachusetts Democratic Party event

06.13.2024
image of Kabria Baumgartner, Dean’s Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies works on the site of what archeologists believe is the home of King Pompey, on June 4, 2024. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Pompey was elected a Colonial-era ‘king.’ Did researchers find the foundation of his home outside Boston?

06.11.2024
image of a Cuban sailor walking past the Russian Navy training ship, Perekop, in Havana Bay, Cuba, Tuesday, July 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Russian warships in Cuba recalls ‘Cold War posturing,’ but no threat, expert says

06.14.24
All Stories