A doctored video featuring Mark Zuckerberg pronouncing “whoever controls the data, controls the future” has recently surfaced and raised new questions regarding artificial intelligence and misinformation. It’s part of a spate of deviously edited videos which have appeared across Facebook and Instagram in recent days.

This video, known as a deepfake, combines real news footage of Zuckerberg with false audio narration.

Why it’s a deepfake

Instagram recently hosted a fake video featuring Mark Zuckerberg created using artificial intelligence (AI). The clip, posted Tuesday evening and featuring unspoken words from him uttering them never before seen before on screen, was created by two artists and an advertising company using deepfakes (an advanced form of AI that takes photographs or videos and makes them look as though someone is speaking).

Vice first reported the video clip, and its release comes shortly after Facebook came under fire for refusing to remove an edited video depicting Nancy Pelosi appearing drunk and simply adding disclaimers warning users it was fake. At that time, Facebook said they would keep it up but add warnings telling viewers it was fake.

The new Zuckerberg video may not be as convincing as Pelosi’s clip, but it demonstrates how easily deepfakes can be used to spread false or inaccurate information and misinformation online. That could prove problematic as Congress hosts its inaugural hearing to investigate how adversaries might use deepfake technology to influence political process and divide Americans.

It’s an art installation

Artists using deepfake technology to spoof celebrities and politicians face an ethical quandary when using it as art. One solution, seen with fake video of Mark Zuckerberg gloating over his global dominance is turning it into art – as demonstrated in recent viral posts on Facebook-owned Instagram which combine news footage of Zuckerberg with audio created from artificial intelligence researchers’ projects such as Spectre. Bill Posters and Daniel Howe collaborated with these AI researchers on producing videos which were displayed recently at Sheffield Doc/Fest in England

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The video was produced using generative adversarial networks, or GANs. GANs use algorithms to train a computer to produce new images or sounds; here, a GAN was trained with 2017 footage of Zuckerberg to appear as though he were giving a warning about how Facebook collects users’ data and then combined that data with an actor’s voice for added realism.

The result was an alarming and disturbing video, reminding us how easy it is for society to be manipulated through technology. Facebook’s decision to keep this video up after fact checkers labeled it false may have serious repercussions.

It’s a test

Zuckerberg released a video this week discussing his hope that Facebook be an inclusive and secure environment for all. Additionally, he believes hiring is one of the most essential tasks an organization must undertake and thus has made hiring one of his priorities.

This video was produced by UK artists Bill Posters and Daniel Howe with help from Canny advertising agency. As part of an art installation called “Spectre,” an examination of computational propaganda, using deepfake to transform Zuck into an evil figure boasting about his power while providing what looks like a realistic news broadcast experience complete with ticker tape ticker and voiceovers.

Since rebranding itself Meta in January, Facebook has experienced considerable challenges. User growth is declining and its stock price has plunged over 60% year-to-date; while founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has come under fire for not doing more to promote the metaverse vision on which his billion-dollar empire was staked.

Facebook recently conducted a test of an audio room that has been available to creators, such as VP and Head of VR Andrew Bozworth as well as StoneMountain64, QueenElimaQueen and TheFierceDivaQueen from its Gaming division. These creators came together for this video shoot.

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It’s a warning

Mark Zuckerberg hopes his company can capture the next big content wave, one which threatens to eclipse text and photographs. With this in mind, he plans on unveiling an upgraded virtual-reality headset this fall equipped with eye and face tracking features so avatars in VR social apps accurately mimic people’s expressions.

Zuckerberg explained during an interview with Joe Rogan’s podcast that the headset will allow the user to feel as though they are looking directly at another person’s avatar in virtual reality, too. When asked by host Joe Rogan about various issues ranging from Facebook limiting reach of articles about Hunter Biden ahead of 2020 elections – which the FBI warned private entities against but did not require actions from Facebook – to drone safety, Zuckerberg noted the device will achieve these effects.

Bill Posters and Daniel Howe of UK artists Bill Posters and Daniel Howe collaborated with advertising agency Canny to upload a deepfake video featuring Mark Zuckerberg that’s a dark take on his future, similar to Black Mirror. It depicts all-powerful Mark as sovereign over billions, only for it be quickly deleted shortly afterwards; but its original is still up as screenshot, showing that Instagram allows its users to control its platform instead of censoring any controversial videos that might come through.