Meta and YouTube have removed a fake video from their platforms that purported to show Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy telling his people to lay down their arms.
Meta’s head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher posted on Twitter that the video “appeared on a reportedly compromised website,” before being shared widely across Facebook and other platforms.
“Earlier today, our teams identified and removed a deepfake video claiming to show President Zelenskiy issuing a statement he never did. It appeared on a reportedly compromised website and then started showing across the internet,” Gleicher said.
“We quickly reviewed and removed this video for violating our policy. against misleading manipulated media and we have informed our colleagues from other platforms.”
YouTube confirmed that the video had also been uploaded multiple times to their platform, and that the company was removing all instances as they were in violation of its disinformation policy. “We only allow these videos if they provide an educational, documentary, scientific or artistic context.” said YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi.
The term deepfake is a portmanteau of “deep learning” and “fake”. Deepfake videos are made using artificial intelligence to create highly convincing video or audio footage. Security experts have long warned that the practice could be used for propaganda purposes.
The video in question showed what appeared to be the Ukrainian president giving in to some of Vladimir Putin’s demands, and commanding his citizens to lay down their weapons. Whilst some noticed that the video had not been posted by Zelenskiy himself on his social media channels, as has become his preferred method of communication with his nation, the videos were shared by thousands who presumably believed them to be real.
Mr. Zelenskiy called the video a “childish provocation” in a response on Twitter. “We are not going to lay down any weapons until our victory,” he added.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is now in its 22nd day, and shows no sign of ending soon with negotiations between the two sides making slow progress.