Deepfake Belgium PM links COVID-19 with climate crisis

Occurred: April 2020

A fake video created by climate activist group Extinction Rebellion of Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès claiming that COVID-19 was directly linked to the 'exploitation and destruction by humans of our natural environment,' prompted concerns about the increasing use of deepfakes in politics.

Named 'THE TRUTH ABOUT COVID-19 AND THE ECOLOGICAL CRISIS', the video was published on Facebook and garnered over 100,000 views within 24 hours. 

The clip was published with a disclaimer saying 'Any resemblance to actual persons is intentional. This video may be fake, but the information it contains is genuine.'

Operator:  Climate Exchange Belgium
Developer: Climate Exchange Belgium

Country: Belgium

Sector: Politics

Purpose: Mobilise supporters

Technology: Deepfake - video; Generative adversarial network (GAN); Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning
Issue: Mis/disinformation; Ethics


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