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The People Onscreen Are Fake. The Disinformation Is Real.

In one video, a news anchor with perfectly combed dark hair and a stubbly beard outlined what he saw as the United States’ shameful lack of action against gun violence. In another video, a female news anchor heralded China’s role in geopolitical relations at an i

nternational summit meeting. But something was off. Their voices were stilted and failed to sync with the movement of their mouths. Their faces had a pixelated, video-game quality and their hair appeared unnaturally plastered to the head. The captions were filled with grammatical mistakes.

The two broadcasters, purportedly anchors for a news outlet called Wolf News, are not real people. They are computer-generated avatars created by artificial intelligence software. And late last year, videos of them were distributed by pro-China bot accounts on Facebook and Twitter, in the first known instance of “deepfake” video technology being used to create fictitious people as part of a state-aligned information campaign.

“This is the first time we’ve seen this in the wild,”


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