Manipulated videos can be used to spread false information. Here’s how you can tell if a video is a deepfake or shallowfake.
Manipulated videos are becoming more pervasive online and often spread misinformation and disinformation.
Misinformation is when a person shares deceptive or false information unintentionally, while disinformation is shared with the intent to deceive.
Some altered videos may seem harmless, such as ones that appear to show celebrities performing stunts. Other times, there could be a nefarious intention behind the videos -- like when a world leader's likeness is copied for political or propaganda purposes.
There are several types of doctored videos that can spread false information. Two of the most common are deepfakes and shallowfakes. A deepfake video is made using artificial intelligence technologies, like programs that can be used to replace or synthesize faces, speech or expressions of emotions.
Shallowfakes are created using simple video editing software used to crudely edit together existing videos.
Here are four key points to look for when analyzing a video, and three examples of deepfake and shallowfake videos that we fact-checked using the key points.
4 key points to spot false videos
Here are questions to ask yourself when determining whether a video is real or fake:
In each of the three examples below, the VERIFY team used the key points, along with online tools such as RevEye, InVid and TinEye, to determine that these videos are fake.
Example 1: President Joe Biden shallowfake video
This video appears to show President Joe Biden authorizing a fourth stimulus check, but the president never did that. The video is actually a shallowfake, because it was crudely edited using actual footage of Biden.
The video footage was edited from a speech Biden delivered at COP26, the United Nations climate change conference held in November 2021. Here’s how we know this video was false:
Example #2: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy deepfake
A video that has been deleted from most major social media sites since it was originally published claims to show Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calling on citizens to surrender to Russia in March. That video was a sophisticated deepfake, and after it was shared by Russian state media it went viral on social media worldwide. Here’s how we know it’s fake:
Example #3: Celebrities reacting to Will Smith-Chris Rock slap deepfakes
These deepfake videos of actors Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman appear to show the two reacting after Will Smith slapped Chris Rock during the 2021 Academy Awards. Here’s how we know they are not real:
The MIT Media Lab, a research laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, offers these additional tips to help detect deepfakes:
If you have questions or want something confirmed, the VERIFY team is here for you. Send your questions to [email protected] if you want the team to fact-check any claims you see online or hear in person.
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