Published on 24 Nov 2020

1 in 3 who are aware of deepfakes say they have inadvertently shared them on social med

An NTU Singapore study has found that some Singaporeans have reported that, despite being aware of the existence of ‘deepfakes’ in general, they believe they have circulated deepfake content on social media which they later found out was a hoax.

Deepfakes are ultrarealistic fake videos made with artificial intelligence (AI) software to depict people doing things they have never done – not just slowing them down or changing the pitch of their voice, but also making them appear to say things that they have never said at all.

In a survey of 1,231 Singaporeans led by NTU Singapore’s Assistant Professor Saifuddin Ahmed, 54 per cent of the respondents said they were aware of deepfakes, of which one in three reported sharing content on social media that they subsequently learnt was a deepfake.

The study also found that more than one in five of those who are aware of deepfakes said that they regularly encounter deepfakes online.

The study also benchmarked the findings on Singaporeans’ understanding of deepfakes against a similar demographic and number of respondents in the United States, and found that those in the US were more aware of deepfakes (61% in US vs. 54% in SG). More people reported sharing content that they later learnt was a deepfake in the US than in Singapore (39% in US vs. 33% in SG).

Assistant Professor Saifuddin of NTU’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, who led the study, said: “As the AI technology behind the creation of deepfakes evolves, it will be even more challenging to discern fact from fiction. While tech companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google have started to label what they have identified as manipulated online content like deepfakes, more efforts will be required to educate the citizenry in effectively negating such content."

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