“What’s up Tiktok?”
With these words, Tom Cruise greets the Tiktok community. It is the actor’s first video on the platform. The clip, which was uploaded at the end of February, has already seen more than nine million users. There are now two more. But is the man really the real Tom Cruise?
This video is a so-called “deepfake” video from Tiktok user “Deeptomcruise”. The face of the person is computer generated and not Tom Cruise. Deepfakes is software that is fed with the help of as many photos as possible of the person to be faked. Since many different photos of actors like Tom Cruise are circulating on the Internet from different angles, stars are particularly suitable for deepfakes. Using the photos, an algorithm learns to exactly imitate the person’s facial expressions, eyes and mouth movements. The program then places this face as a digital mask in a video recording over the face of another person. While this technology was still relatively immature about two years ago, it is now becoming more and more difficult to detect “deepfakes”.
However, if you slowly watch the videos of “Deeptomcruise” or stop them in between, small image errors can be seen. For example, when you take off your sunglasses, the temple of the glasses disappears for a second.
In addition, Tom Cruise is now 58 years old. His face currently looks much older, like here when shooting the next “Mission Impossible” film in October last year. The person also appears to be slightly taller than the 1.70 meter tall real Cruise. And the voice doesn’t really sound like the actor’s. (Comparison)
It is not known who is behind the recordings. In the meantime, the videos have been deleted from the Tiktok channel.
Internet security experts are concerned about the development of artificial intelligence software. Entrepreneur and cyber security specialist Rachel Tobac calls on apps like Tiktok to use software that detects deepfakes and labels them as such:
“Deepfakes compromise public trust, provide cover and plausible denials to criminals / perpetrators caught on video or audio, and are used to manipulate, humiliate, and hurt people.”
One way to avoid deceptions like this would be to have visually conspicuous verified accounts of celebrities – even if they were not active on the platform. Unverified accounts such as “Deeptomcruise” would then automatically be suspected of being fake.