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Facebook Removes Deepfake of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy

Facebook Removes Deepfake of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy

Facebook has removed a deepfake video of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spreading across the social network and asking Ukrainian troops lay down their arms and surrender.

“Earlier today, our teams identified and removed a deepfake video claiming to show President Zelensky issuing a statement he never did,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, the head of security policy at Meta, Facebook’s parent company.

“It appeared on a reportedly compromised website and then started showing across the Internet.

“We’ve quickly reviewed and removed this video for violating our policy against misleading manipulated media, and notified our peers at other platforms.”

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The altered video was first shared on the compromised website of Ukraine 24 after a Wednesday breach, according to DailyDot, and it spread to other compromised news sites, including Segodnya.

President Zelenskyy also reacted to the news of the deepfake making rounds on the Internet with a video of his own to neuter the deepfake’s ability to trick its target audience, asking the Russian troops to surrender instead and go home.

“If I can offer someone to lay down their arms, it’s the Russian military,” Zelenskyy said. “Go home. Because we’re home. We are defending our land, our children, & our families.”

The Ukrainian Stratcom Centre, the country’s Centre for Strategic Communications and Information Security, warned two weeks ago that Russia may use deepfake videos created using machine learning algorithms that “are almost impossible to distinguish from the real ones.”

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“Be aware – this is a fake! Itss goal is to disorient, sow panic, disbelieve citizens and incite our troops to retreat. Rest assured – Ukraine will not capitulate,” the Ukrainian government agency said.

Facebook also took down accounts used by the Ghostwriter Belarusian-linked hacking group to target Ukrainian officials and military personnel, later to be used for spreading videos portraying Ukrainian soldiers surrendering to Russia and, likely, later to be used to spread deepfakes.

Additionally, the Computer Emergency Response Team of Ukraine (CERT-UA) observed spear-phishing attacks targeting the private email accounts of Ukrainian military personnel.

This deepfake video’s release aligns with a statement made by the Ukrainian Security Service (SSU) before Russia’s invasion, saying that the country is targeted by a “massive wave of hybrid warfare.”

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