Pentagon deepfake 'explosion' jitters US stock market

Occurred: May 2023

A deepfake photograph and accompanying report of an explosion near to the Pentagon outside Washington DC led to a 0.26% fall in the US stock market in four minutes. The report was quickly rebutted as false by Arlington authorities.

A verified Twitter account called @BloombergFeed impersonating a Bloomberg profile had shared a photo of plumes of smoke billowing over a large white building with the words 'Large explosion near The Pentagon Complex in Washington D.C - Initial Report'. 

As noted by the Insider, the photograph featured 'some of the hallmarks of AI-generated images'. The columns on the supposed building in the hoax photo varied in size and the fence appeared to blend into the sidewalk in some places. 

The photograph and report, which have since been deleted, had quickly gone viral on Twitter and were retweeted by high-profile Twitter Russian news account @RT and @DeItaone.

System 🤖

Operator: X Corp/Twitter
Country: USA
Sector: Govt - defence
Purpose: Scare/confuse/destabilise
Technology: Deepfake - image; Generative adversarial network (GAN); Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning
Issue: Mis/disinformation  
Transparency: Governance; Marketing

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: May 2023