MrBeast and Tom Hanks Followers the Latest Victims of Deepfake Scams
Deepfake technology is now easy to access and quality can be high
Top YouTube creator MrBeast (aka Jimmy Donaldson) has called out social media giants for not actively policing their platforms for scams that employ deepfake technology. The most recent issue arose when an ad on TikTok appeared to show MrBeast offering to give away new iPhones for just $2. The ad transcript says:
If you are watching this video, you’re one of the ten thousand lucky people who’ll get an iPhone 15 Pro for just two dollars. I’m MrBeast and I’m doing the world’s largest iPhone 15 giveaway. Click the link below to claim yours now.
You can see an example of the deepfake video in Donaldson’s MrBeast Twitter post. In the post referencing the deepfake scam, MrBeast commented:
Lots of people are getting this deepfake scam ad of me… are social media platforms ready to handle the rise of AI deepfakes? This is a serious problem
Social Media is not Ready for Deepfake
The fact is that social media services are not ready for cheap and ubiquitous deepfakes flooding their news feeds. Deepfakes are used for legitimate posts as well as for scams, so even if social media networks could identify deepfake content, they would still need to validate what is legitimate and what is fraudulent. For now, they rely on the victims to warn them before removing the ad.
It doesn’t even matter that much if the deepfake is not of the highest quality. The MrBeast ad video is grainy and has some jumps. However, even savvy consumers of digital media might see that as the result of their internet connection or browser.
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We saw a similar situation with British consumer advocate Martin Lewis earlier this year. A much longer and higher-quality video deepfake with a voice clone was made of Lewis pitching a new investment that purportedly involved Elon Musk. Lewis was first informed that the deepfake was circulating on Facebook, and then someone shared it with him on Twitter.
According to Lewis’ publication, MoneySavingExpert:
A spokesperson for Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, told MoneySavingExpert.com (MSE): "We don’t allow this kind of advert on our platforms and the original video was proactively removed by our teams. We also removed a number of copycat adverts using the same imagery."
The actor Tom Hanks also faced his own deepfake encounter this past week. He took to Instagram to warn his followers about the scam, saying:
BEWARE!! There’s a video out there promoting some dental plan with an AI version of me. I have nothing to do with it.
The market is just beginning to see deepfake detection solutions emerge. They are something of a novelty for social media, news media, and other corporations today, but that is likely to change beginning in 2024. Amit Gupta from Pindrop joined me at Syntedia 3 to demonstrate their solution.
As the technology proliferates and scams become more commonplace, deepfake detection is likely to become a standard-of-care feature similar to cybersecurity. The new tools won’t catch all deepfakes, but if they automate detection and flag posts for further review, it could be a positive development for everyone.
Until then, be careful out there. 😮