How to Spot a Deepfake like the Barack Obama–Jordan Peele Video

How to Spot a Deepfake like the Barack Obama–Jordan Peele Video

Buzzfeed, 2018

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Eye Opening
  • Concrete Examples


For several years, halfhearted jokes about not being able to believe what you see on the Internet have pervaded popular culture. But during the 2016 US presidential election, “fake news” became not just a household term but a political weapon. Now, deception artists have an extended playing field thanks to the latest generation of voice-swapping and face-swapping technologies. Before long, it might be hard to decide if you’re watching a White House press conference or some hacker’s concoction. Using Jordan Peele’s impressive deepfake simulation of former president Barack Obama as an example, BuzzFeed media editor Craig Silverman explains how you can avoid being duped by deepfake videos. getAbstract recommends following his advice before you share another news video.


Widely available deepfake software like FakeApp allows users to move a person’s face from one video to another. The swap typically starts out a bit choppy, but FakeApp employs deep learning algorithms that iterate until the finished product is deceptively smooth. Couple that process with audio splicing, and you can make anyone say and do just about anything you want. Such video editing technologies are getting still better and more prolific, and some of the biggest players in the tech world are joining the fray. For instance, Adobe is creating an ...

About the Author

Craig Silverman is a Canadian journalist who serves as BuzzFeed’s media editor.

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