Cloned Ukrainian YouTuber promotes Russia-China relations

Occurred: February 2024

Videos of clones of a Ukrainian YouTube mental health influencer in the guise of a Russian woman extolling the Russia-China relationship circulated on Chinese social media.

20-year-old Olga Loiek spotted videos of herself on Bilibili, Douyin and other Chinese social media platforms speaking Mandarin, promoting national ties between Russia and China, selling Russian goods and saying she wants to marry a Chinese man. 

Some of the videos were marked 'HeyGen', a US-based AI video creation company launched in China in 2020. HeyGen's use and moderation policy states that users cannot generate avatars that 'represent real individuals, including celebrities or public figures, without explicit consent.'

The incident was seen to highlight the ease with which people's identities can be stolen and repurposed by bad actors on HeyGen and other platforms, and the lack of effective enforcement of their terms.

Developer: HeyGen
Country: China; Ukraine
Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts; Politics
Purpose: Promote Russia-China relations
Technology: Deepfake - video; Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning
Issue: Ethics/values; Mis/disinformation
Transparency: Governance; Marketing

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