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AI-Generated Deepfake Ads Spread on Social Media, Targeting Celebrities

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Deepfake AI
AI-generated fake Taylor Swift endorsement ads have surfaced on Facebook, raising concerns about the increasing use of deepfake technology. On January 15, Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar also fell victim to deepfake manipulation.

The U.S. government has issued a warning about the rise of “deepfake” scams, urging people to take a moment to verify posts and social media accounts before making purchases, as the photos and videos are likely to be fake.

AI generated video of Taylor Swift promoting Le Creuset cookware
AI generated video of Taylor Swift promoting Le Creuset cookware

The AI “Deepfake” technology has once again attracted attention.

In one instance, an AI-generated fake Taylor Swift advertisement promoting Le Creuset cookware spread on Facebook. The company involved swiftly responded, clarifying that Taylor Swift had not participated in any consumer giveaway activities, and all promotions related to product giveaways were from official social media accounts.

Taylor Swift is not the only celebrity recently targeted by AI-generated deception. On January 15, Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar became a victim of deepfake manipulation.

Taylor Swift Gives you Free High-End French Kitchen Utensils? Fake!

The fake Taylor Swift ad claimed that due to packaging errors, 3,000 sets of Le Creuset cookware could not be sold offline and were being offered online as part of a promotion. The ad featured an AI-generated Taylor Swift sitting at a piano, promoting the French high-end cookware brand Le Creuset and announcing a giveaway of sets to 20 loyal fans as part of her “New Year giveaway.”

However, the Taylor Swift in the video was not real; it was a result of deepfake technology synthesizing her voice and piecing together her image with Le Creuset ad clips.

According to The New York Times, scammers used the synthesized voice to refer to Taylor Swift’s fans as “Swifties.” In the synthetic ad, Taylor Swift’s cloned voice expresses happiness about freely distributing cookware sets to Swifties. Victims were then directed to a fake website where they were asked to pay a $9.96 shipping fee, but the promised free cookware was never delivered.

Both Le Creuset and Meta, the parent company of Facebook, promptly responded to this fraudulent activity.

As of January 12, Meta stated that the ad had been removed.

Le Creuset clarified that the company had not collaborated with Taylor Swift on any consumer giveaway activities, and all approved Le Creuset giveaways or promotions originated from official social media accounts.

Indian media outlet Economic Times reported on January 15 that Sachin Tendulkar, the cricket legend, had also fallen victim to deepfake manipulation.

In a previous video, the cricket player endorsed a gaming app called Skyward Aviator Quest, claiming that his daughter earned up to 180,000 rupees daily by using the app to predict game outcomes.

Sachin Tendulkar response to AI deepfake on social media
Sachin Tendulkar response to AI’s deepfake on social media

Sachin Tendulkar responded, stating that the videos were fake, expressing concern about the rampant misuse of technology. He urged people to report such videos, ads, and applications in large numbers. Social media platforms need to stay vigilant and respond to complaints, as their actions are crucial in preventing the spread of misinformation and deepfakes.

Rise of Deepfake Scams in the U.S.

Professor Siwei Lyu, a computer science professor at the University at Buffalo’s Media Forensics Lab, explained in an interview with The New York Times that the Taylor Swift “deepfake” scam was likely produced using text-to-speech services. These tools can transcribe scripts into sound and synchronize them with lip-sync programs to integrate them into video clips.

Deepfake, a portmanteau of “deep learning” and “fake,” refers to the use of deep learning technology to generate synthetic images, audio, or videos. As AI technology advances and the accessibility of related tools increases, more videos incorporating deepfake technology are being produced, developing new applications. Over the past year, significant progress has been made in AI, making it easier to create unauthorized digital replicas of real individuals. Audio and video spoofing has become particularly easy and challenging to detect.

The U.S. Better Business Bureau warned last year that deepfake scams were on the rise. They advised individuals to take a moment to recheck posts and social media accounts before making purchases, as the photos and videos are likely to be fake. Falling for such scams could result in financial losses, often more significant than anticipated.

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