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Deepfake Used to Attack Activist Couple Shows New Disinformation Frontier


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A heat map of a photograph of  "Oliver Taylor" produced by Tel Aviv-based deepfake detection company Cyabra highlights areas of suspected computer manipulation.

A student at the U.K.'s University of Birmingham has been unmasked as fictional by state-of-the-art forensic analysis programs.

Credit: Cyabra/REUTERS

A student at the U.K.'s University of Birmingham has been unmasked as fictional by state-of-the-art forensic analysis programs from Israel-based startup Cyabra, which determined his online profile photo is a deepfake—a hyper-realistic digital forgery.

Reuters investigated one "Oliver Taylor" after he accused London academic Mazen Masri and his wife, Palestinian rights activist Ryvka Barnard, of being "known terrorist sympathizers."

Six experts identified background distortions and inconsistencies, glitches around the neck and collar, and other features in Taylor's online image as deepfake telltales.

Cyabra founder Dan Brahmy said personas like Taylor, a rare example of deepfakes integrated with disinformation, are dangerous because they can construct "a totally untraceable identity."

Publications including the Times of Israel published articles Taylor authored, and Times of Israel opinion editor Miriam Herschlag said such deepfake personas could distort public discourse, and make editors less willing to publish unknown writers.

From Reuters
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