With artificial intelligence (AI), it’s possible to create images and videos of well-known people doing and saying things they never said or did. And increasingly, these deepfake images and video are showing up on social media with the aim of scamming viewers.
According to a report by NBC News, many of the scams are built around Elon Musk, in which the fake Musk urges viewers to invest in this revolutionary new technology that will earn millions for investors. Viewers who rise to the bait lose their money because there is no revolutionary technology.
If an unknown scammer made such a pitch on social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube, most people would ignore it. But enlisting a fake Elon Musk to make the pitch is a game-changer.
The deepfake scams are not limited to Musk. Many other celebrities – and even news anchors – are being enlisted by scammers to help them ensnare victims.
Unfortunately, the ability to create deep fake videos is becoming easier with the development of new deepfake apps. All you have to do is upload your source and target videos and the software does the rest, replacing the face of the person in the video.
Easy to do
The tools are easily accessible. One online platform charges $4 an hour for its service, with a high-quality deepfake video costing about $80 to produce.
You can also clone voices, recreating a person's voice tone and inflection and make them say anything you want. That has already been used by scammers numerous times to extort money from parents who are convinced their child has been kidnapped.
The problem for social media companies is how to tell a deepfake video from the real thing. With millions of posts it is almost impossible to keep up with.
NBC reports YouTube has removed some videos the network identified as fake but others are still there. It’s a danger for sure, but consumers can protect themselves by never taking investment advice from anyone in a social media post, whether real or fake.