Fake videos pose a new PR challenge

New technology will make it easy for hoaxers to alter speakers’ words and even facial expressions. Are you prepared to respond to an unflattering edit?

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

Seeing is no longer believing. Video editing technology now makes it possible to stealthily overdub a speaker’s words.

University of Washington researchers demonstrated the troubling potential of this new technology by producing a fake video of President Barack Obama. In their Synthesizing Obama project, researchers synched Obama’s lips in the video to edited audio from his previous speeches. They put different words in his mouth, completely altering the original commentary, content and context. The video is convincing.

Researchers at the Face2Face project at Stanford University have created technology that can change facial expressions on videos. So far, they’ve transformed facial expressions of George W. Bush, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump by having them mimic expressions of human actors.

Adobe’s Project Voco software can alter audio recordings to add words and phrases the speaker never uttered—in what sounds like the speaker’s voice.

The technology will advance rapidly

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.