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17th Mar 2022

Video of Zelenskyy surrendering that aired on news channel revealed as deepfake

Charlie Herbert

Zelenskyy clip revealed as deepfake

‘Enemy hackers’ have been blamed for the deepfake shown on news broadcast

A video of Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy calling on his country to surrender to Russian forces has been revealed as a deepfake.

The clip, which was shown on Ukrainian TV and appeared on a tabloid’s website, has now been removed from Facebook.

The tabloid has blamed “enemy hackers” for the footage appearing on their site.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Meta’s head of security policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, said that the video had violated the company’s policy against misleading manipulated media.

“Earlier today, our teams identified and removed a deepfake video claiming to show President Zelensky issuing a statement he never did. It appeared on a reportedly compromised website and then started showing across the internet,” Gleicher explained.

“We’ve quickly reviewed and removed this video for violating our policy against misleading manipulated media, and notified our peers at other platforms.”

The deepfake appeared on the website for Russian-language Ukrainian tabloid, Segodnya, and was then aired in a hacked news broadcast on television channel Ukraine 24.

In a statement, Segodnya said that “enemy hackers” were responsible for the video appearing on their site.

The tabloid said: “Enemy hackers hacked the TV channel Ukraine 24 and broadcast Zelenskyy’s message about the alleged ‘surrender.’ It’s fake!

“Friends, we have repeatedly warned about this. Nobody is going to give up. Especially in conditions when the Russian army is defeated in battles with the Ukrainian army!”

After the deepfake was broadcast, President Zelenskyy responded with his own video, calling on Russian troops to surrender, the Independent reports.

“If I can offer someone to lay down their arms, it’s the Russian military. Go home. Because we’re home. We are defending our land, our children, and our families,” Zelensky said.

Throughout the war in Ukraine, there have been a number of instances of fake footage appearing online claiming to be from the conflict that began on February 24.

On two occasions, video game clips have been mistaken for real-world footage. First, footage from the military strategy game ArmA III was circulated on social media, racking up thousands of views.

Then, clips claiming to be of the legendary ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ were also debunked as actually being from video game Digital Combat Simulator: World.

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