Deepfakes a worrying trend in the run-up to elections

Deepfakes, which are highly realistic fabricated videos or images, can deceive voters, manipulate public opinion, and tarnish the reputation of political parties and politicians.
Deepfakes, highly realistic fabricated videos or images, present a significant threat to the integrity of elections worldwide. With over four billion people participating in upcoming elections, including those in the US, UK, India, South Africa, and Namibia, the proliferation of deepfakes fuelled by generative AI demands heightened vigilance from both politicians and voters.
Identified as the second most significant global risk after extreme weather in the 2024 Global Risks Report by the World Economic Forum, AI-generated misinformation poses a grave concern. Deepfakes, in particular, have the potential to deceive voters, manipulate public opinion, and tarnish the reputation of political entities.
Anna Collard, SVP Content Strategy and Evangelist at KnowBe4 AFRICA, underscores the escalating sophistication of deepfakes, making them increasingly challenging to detect. Notable incidents, including cybercriminals impersonating African Union Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat and the removal of over 100 deepfake advertisements featuring British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak from Facebook, highlight the severity of the issue.
Collard stresses the necessity for awareness among voters regarding the prevalence and impact of deepfakes, emphasising the ease and affordability of producing such deceptive content. Raising awareness is crucial, alongside verifying information using tools like Google's reverse image search and FotoForensics. However, despite these measures, the evolving realism of deepfakes complicates the verification process.
Moreover, Collard advises against overreacting to inflammatory content, as scammers aim to exploit emotions to manipulate individuals. Encouraging rational thinking and caution, she urges voters to verify information before sharing it.
Recognising the collective responsibility to combat deepfakes and safeguard the democratic process, Collard advocates for collaboration between social media platforms, political entities, independent watchdogs, and the public. - Distributed by APO Group on behalf of KnowBe4.