Monrovia – A short video circulating different social media platforms conveys a misleading context of what was said by United States’ Vice President Kamala Harris when she spoke at a vaccine mobilization event in Detroit, Michigan.
Report by: Varney Kelvin Sirleaf | LVL Fact Checker
In the video, the context of VP Harris message was manipulated using a deep fake software to mean something completely different from what she actually said at the occasion.
Deepfacelab, which is a software used to manipulate audio or speech of a video, accounts for over 95% of fake videos. Creators of these fake videos do not only replace the faces of people in the video, they also use the software to change the head of a speaker and even manipulate lips to generate speeches. This makes the software a boost for the spread of misinformation and deceptive editing which is a big threat and aids the spread of misleading information.
So, what is Deep Fake?
In a deep fakes videos or images one person face can be convincingly replaced by a computer-generated face. Deep refers here to the Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology involved. This technology is used in synthetic audio to create falsified content, replacing or synthesizing faces, speech, and manipulating emotions. It is used to digitally imitate an action by a person that he or she did not commit.
Deepfake is one of the most dangerous uses of AI and most of its malicious applications involve discrediting or creating fraudulent intentions. Politicians have also been victims of created deepfake videos. There were videos of President Barrack Obama insulting President Donald Trump. In another video, Nancy Pelosi’s (The US House Speaker) speech was processed to make the audience believe that she was drunk. In another video, former US President Donald Trump was shown to be mocking Belgium for its membership in the Paris Climate Agreement.
So, how was the VP Harris video manipulated?
The original video, which is about 23 minutes long, was edited to just 53 seconds with the intent of sending a misleading message that VP Harris has casted doubts over the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines and to further disprove credible scientist and health experts Like the CDC and the European Medicines Agency that have said COVID vaccine protects against severe illness and hospitalization.
In the manipulated video, the context of VP Harris message was distorted to mean that “people who are vaccinated were being hospitalized and even dying from the virus” although she had, in actuality, said that unvaccinated people were the ones being hospitalized due to Covid infections and were even dying.
In the Video posted to the White House YouTube channel, Harris was speaking at a vaccine mobilization event on July 12, 2021 where she outlined the US Government’s strategies to increase the number of vaccinated people in the country.
Noting that the Biden administration is bringing the facts and not the misinformation to the American people, she said: “Vaccination as the single best defense against covid 19 and its variants… Detroit this Delta variant, its spread faster and it is in many cases reported to be much more serious in term of its impact, and here is how I know. Virtually every person that is in the hospital right now sick with Covid 19 is unvaccinated and even more regrettably virtually every person that has recently died from Covid 19 was unvaccinated”.
Why Was the Video Manipulated?
This manipulated video sends a message that Covid-19 vaccines are unsafe, and that they don’t protect people against the virus. These are the workings of anti-vaccine campaigners who continue to be a big threat in minimizing the risk or ending the pandemic. The ploy by anti-vaccine campaigners to manipulate these videos and images of public officials supporting Science is intended to distort the truth and mislead the public the pandemic while at the same time justifying their argument that vaccination against the virus is irrelevant.
Thankfully, YouTube has removed the fake video from its platform but it has been downloaded by many individuals who may want to share through other means like messaging apps.
How to identify Manipulated Video?
There are thousands of manipulated videos making rounds on the internet and aside from conducting a video verification search using online tools, some videos just need a careful look and a bit of critical thinking to identify whether they are fake or real. The images in the video, the content of the message, and several other things including the conveyor of the message, could give you a hint. With a quick review of all these, ask yourself if the message in the video is trustworthy. Then, ask other credible sources or do a little more search about the particular video.
Do a video verification search if you can. To conduct a video verification using online tools, you must first take a screenshot of the video and put it in an online verification tool like Yandex, TinEye or Google Reverse Image search.
Some clues to check deepfake videos are unreal skin color or shifts in skin tone, the jerky movements of the person in the video, poor synchronization of speech with lip movement, faces or figures of the person that are blurrier than the background, lighting problems, and the additional pixels in the frame.
Whenever you come across a viral video, first verified whether the video is true before sharing it you’re your friends or families.