Can Deepfakes Impact the US Elections?

Deepfake technology is becoming more accessible, and allow users to swap faces on persons in a video and change the words they are saying, with very realistic results. In an article for Medium and later published in Nieman Lab, ViSmedia-researchers Nicholas Diakopoulos and Deborah Johnson elaborate seven scenarios for how deepfakes can be used to impact the US elections. According to them, “deepfakes have the potential to wreak havoc in contexts such as news, where audio and video are treated as a form of evidence that something actually happened. So-called “cheapfakes,” such as the widely circulated clip of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have already demonstrated the potential for low-tech manipulated video to find a ready audience.”

The set of scenarios includes a variety of different actors, motivations, modalities of media, channels for distribution, and mechanisms for influencing voters.


Thomas Wold