Deepfake TV anchors spin Pro-China 'spamouflage' campaign
Occurred: February 2023
Deepfake TV anchors and thousands of fake Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Reddit accounts, groups and pages talking positively about China whilst sowing disquiet in the US, UK, Taiwan, the Australia, Japan, and other countries have been discovered and taken down.
The TV anchors had purported to work for 'Wolf News' and had been created using technology created and owned by London-based AI video creation platform Synthesia. They are thought to be the first known instance of 'deepfake'-generated videos being used as part of a state-aligned influence campaign.
The discovery had first been made (pdf) by Graphika, which had been tracking a Chinese covert influence operation named 'Spamouflage'. Synthesia later suspended the accounts of the people who had created the fake anchors on the basis that they had violated its terms of service.
In September 2023, Meta said (pdf) it had removed 7,704 Facebook accounts, 954 pages, 15 groups and 15 Instagram accounts identified for violating the company’s inauthentic behaviour policy. Meta said large number of accounts appeared to be running from shared locations in China, marked by bursts of activity during the morning and afternoon, with breaks for lunch and supper.
Published: February 2023
Last updated: September 2023