Fake news? You ain't seen nothin' yet

Friday, June 26, 2020

We hope you’ve learned to temper your social media surfing with a healthy dose of skepticism, fact-checking before you share, or at least resisting the urge to share everything that comes across your screen.

Even the most responsible social media user is going to face unprecedented deception in the coming years.

SocialCatfish.com has released a new report outlining just how new “deepfake” technology can be abused.

You probably remember Tom Hanks meeting JFK in Forrest Gump, and you’ve come to take super-realistic special effects in movies for granted.

Deepfake is made possible by cheap, widespread computing power, and despite efforts by government and big tech companies to fight the threat, Facebook itself reports deepfake scams can be detected as fake just 65% of the time.

SocialCatfish.com lists some of the ways deepfakery can be used as a weapon:

• Revenge: You could be framed for something you did not do. Your likeness could be placed in videos to embarrass you, cost you your job, or try and land you a jail sentence.

• Pornography: A teenage girl or politician can be digitally inserted into a porn video. This is known as “morph porn” and “parasite porn.” Similarly, “revenge porn” is a growing trend to get back at former lovers. One victim, Noelle Martin, has spoken out extensively about the negative ramifications this technology had on her life.

• Medical Misinformation: Videos showing health experts discuss Coronavirus could be doctored for political or economic reasons

• Political Fake News: Deepfake can spread fake news and impact the 2020 election.

• Terrorist Propaganda: Terrorist recruitment videos could show Americans saying harmful or threatening things about terrorist leaders or other governments.

• Warfare: Deepfake could show a sitting president declaring war. The threatened country might respond with severe military force or nuclear power, without recognizing the threat was fake.

• Government Overthrow: Especially in heavy terrorist locations or third world countries, deepfake content could be created to influence the masses into starting a coup.

• Court Proceedings: One party might use videos to falsely allege abuse, get custody of a child, or get an employee fired.

• Fake Crimes: People could create videos showing you committing a crime.

The company offers these precautions:

• Make Your Accounts Private: Make sure your accounts are private so only people you approve of can view your images and videos on social media.

• Conduct Regular Searches: Be proactive and monitor your online reputation by searching for your name regularly.

• Look After Your Children: Given the risks that your innocent children’s photographs could be used in a shocking video, make sure that you perform safety searches for your minor children and other family members. Even if they do not use the internet, if you share photographs of them online, they are still at risk.

• Limit What You Share: Inherently, social media is about sharing your life, family activities, photos, and videos. Some people such as models and influencers rely on social media for their livelihood. This is just a reminder to consider being more cautious on what you share going forward.

• How to Report Violations: If you see anything online which attempts to frame or blackmail you, or uses your likeness in vengeful or humiliating ways, immediately contact the authorities and the Internet Crime Division of the FBI.

Scam artists will always seek to exploit emerging technology. There is a growing concern over the ways deepfake can be used in 2020, however, by educating yourself and taking simple precautions, you can mitigate risk and avoid becoming a victim.

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