Deepfake video alleges France opposes Mali military junta

Occurred: January 2022

A fake AI-generated video purported to show France giving money to Malian political parties to persuade them not to participate in a national consultation set up by the country's military junta.

The video showed a television news presenter speaking to camera in a TV studio background and drew on a letter allegedly written by French president Emmanuel Macron saying France would pay EUR 23 million to local political parties if they agreed to support France's presence on the country.

The deepfake video was created using AI video creation platform Synthesia and first appeared on the Nabi Malien Den Halala Facebook page. The page is said to regularly publish Russian disinformation. Russian mercenaries have reputedly been active in Mali for several years.

Mali's military junta took power in a controversial coup d’état in May 2021.

Operator: Nabi Malien Den Halala
Developer: Synthesia
Country: France; Mali
Sector: Politics; Govt - foreign
Purpose: Damage reputation
Technology: Deepfake - audio, video; Generative adversarial network (GAN); Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning
Issue: Ethics; Mis/disinformation
Transparency: Governance; Marketing