Trend Alert: Deepfakes

Trend Alert introduces you to the latest brands, products and services that are trending with 16-24s.

In a time where the line between fact and fiction is becoming increasingly blurred, a popular new app adds another dimension to the problem. FakeApp uses Google’s TensorFlow machine learning software to enable users to morph faces onto other people’s bodies in videos. As The Verge discovered, it takes time and talent to make the results realistic, but some have already achieved it, and have been using the technology for mischievous purposes.

People have been using FakeApp to create videos known as “deepfakes,” where celebrity faces are pasted onto porn actors’ bodies to make fake celebrity porn. The videos were an instant hit on Reddit, though were later banned from there and other sites such as Pornhub. Celebrity lookalikes and film parodies are already a porn staple, so although they are morally dubious, deepfakes simply bring the trend into a new digital form.

So far, FakeApp has mainly been used with famous faces - not just to create fake porn, but also a kind of video version of fan fiction, such as this shockingly convincing clip of Nic Cage as the new Indiana Jones.

However, there are much more nefarious potential uses of the technology. GQ suggested deepfakes could be the new revenge porn, while NBC considered whether fake video would be the next fake news. Researchers have developed an algorithm that detects facial manipulation, which could be employed by sites like YouTube and Facebook, but they have already discovered it isn’t foolproof.

The possible future uses of FakeApp are disturbing, but for now at least, we might as well enjoy its more entertaining products, such as Mr Bean as Lois Lane (pictured above), and Steve Buscemi as Sharon Stone.

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