Until now, in discussions about deepfakes, an important place was occupied by the need for certain skills in using specific programs to produce deepfakes. The development of new applications, based on artificial intelligence, but easier to use, is leading to mass production of deepfakes. In the last Presidential Election in the United States of America, there were more cheapfakes than deepfakes and the main reason was that cheapfakes were easily produced and anyone could do them. Now that this is becoming possible for deepfake, so easy to produce, it does not take much persuasion and calculations to say that in important social processes, like elections, deepfake will be the main risk in the world of information, while manipulation is becoming more feasible, in the technological sense.

Deepfake is false visual content, based on artificial intelligence, where a real person can be presented saying or doing something they have never done. In these years of deepfakes existence, there are those produced for entertainment, others that are for awareness, but there are also cases where the manipulation of society through deepfake is aimed at political or economic motives.

Deepfake is becoming easier to produce every time, which makes the awareness of society about this phenomenon urgent. The latest examples in the region, with the video impersonating the well-known moderator Luana Vjollca in an erotic video , with the use of artificial intelligence the face of Luana Vjollca was placed, or even the video itself published by the journalist, Blendi Fevziu for awareness purposes, where he appears speaking Chinese, Arabic, Russian and Portuguese. These two are the examples that show that producing a deepfake is much easier now than a few years ago. If the lens of analysis is expanded beyond the region, then a viral deepfake was that of the famous model Belle Hadid, where she appeared as a supporter of Israel's actions in the war against Hamas , which she had not said. Hadid's deepfake had over 28 million views on X (formerly Twitter).

The development of technology and easy-to-use programs based on artificial intelligence is creating another threat to the truth. Now, the truth is on the edge of 'death', because with the increase of deepfakes in circulation, it will be more and more difficult to understand what the truth is. Considering the crisis of media credibility, journalism will be challenged even more in the near future. However, all this can be best fought with professional journalism, with journalism that adheres to professional standards and puts the public interest first. Otherwise, sensationalist and click-baiting journalism will only fuel even more mistrust of the media and lead citizens to feel insecure with the information they receive in the media, creating a space for other actors in the information environment. In this situation, those who like to operate in the fog, to profit with a Machiavellian approach, without thinking about the damage caused to society, always benefit.

The massification of deepfake as a result of the development of programming based on artificial intelligence opens a new chapter in information and communication circulation, either for the sender or the receiver of the information. Due to this rapid and very important development, efforts should be made to make the verification method a simpler and faster process than it is now. There are currently some programs that help detect this phenomenon that makes you unconsciously live in a fake reality, such as FakeCatcher and Sentinel, but there are still no open tools, which would be available for everyone to use, free of charge. Also, it is important that the detection methods are advanced in order to keep pace with the progress of deepfakes, because the technology that is facilitating the production of deepfakes is developing at a rapid pace. Currently, these platforms do not detect audio manipulations, an important element in audiovisual manipulations because there are already some cases when the image is real, while the sound is generated by artificial intelligence.

Tools for detecting deepfakes are important, but countering disinformation also requires a great commitment of individuals and CSOs to make society aware of the existence and implications of deepfakes in everyday life. Knowledge of deepfakes and awareness of this phenomenon helps society to be more critical of any video it is exposed to.

Illustration by: tujuh17belas

Read more on the dangers behind cheapfakes:

‘Cheapfakes’ - major danger and media manipulation threat

Cheapfake as a dangerous propaganda tool: the case of a refugee from Kosovo

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