The Saga of Cheap fake: How The Innocent Internet Comedy Genre Became a Deadly Force
The cheap fake looks almost like a young cousin and looks more harmless than the deepfake. In fact, it is much more dangerous than we think.
Cheap little fake: big headache
Counterfeiting pollutes the information field. Otherwise, we will not make a definition of anti-plagiarism. Interestingly, cheap fakes are older than deepfakes. They first appeared in an era when computers were slower than psychedelic sloths and Tetris was still new.
The Bank Journal group compiled excerpts from the speeches of Thatcher and Reagan in 1982 to make it look like a legitimate phone call between two leaders. The deception was accompanied by obsessions with nuclear war and confessions of dirty political intrigue.
What does the weapon of satirical commentary that has over time become a crude comedy? As the World Wide Web slowly moves across the globe, rudimentary memes are starting to grab our attention more and more.
So is the False News: it has been around forever: at least since the reign of Constantius II, who falsely bragged about his victories over the Persians. But the internet has taken them to a whole new level: Hillary Clinton adopts a strange baby, the week that wasn’t, and others.
In 2017, deepfake technology made its spectacular debut, transforming the usually sharp dust demon from an online political debate into a full-blown hurricane, drawing much of its energy from a series of deepfakes. Some were knee-jerks, others were sad. But they all tried to manipulate public sentiment in one way or another.
Cheapfakes has followed in deepfake’s footsteps. Their trick was that it was disgustingly simple and really cheap. To create such a brood, simply dust off Windows Movie Maker or download a free photo editing program like GIMP and unleash your Reddit-worthy creativity.
How do cheap fakes work? and kill
Cheapfakes are based on simple manipulation techniques. For example, you can swap two people’s faces with an app like Reface to show one of them is in poor lighting. For example, a mayoral candidate might appear posing with a bottle of cheap liquor and a knuckle in his hand.
Another trick is to apply basic effects to well-meaning media. A famous example is the “Drunk Pelosi” hoax: The Speaker of the House appears to be cursing his speech, referring to alcohol intoxication. In fact, the original footage has been slowed down: a two-click functionality in a video editor.
However, things can take a more dangerous turn, taking innocent lives. The “kidnapping hoax” was perhaps the deadliest fraud to date, affecting the western Indian state of Maharashtra and a few other territories.
Shocking messages from motorcycle gangs harvesting members ‘from North India’ quickly multiplied through WhatsApp chats. Parents have been warned not to leave their children alone outside the home because the mysterious cyclists were intentionally chasing after them. As evidence, some photos of dead children and footage of the kidnapping were attached to the warnings.
This resulted in the killing of random people. Among them were innocent tourists, unsuspecting passers-by, and even pilgrims: a 63-year-old woman was murdered by a group of farmers for being reckless in handing out sweets to children on her way to the temple.
In fact, this cheap forgery used the recontextualization technique, presenting certain information in a completely different light. So the ‘snatch video’ was actually a social ad, showing how easy it would be to snatch a random child on the street if the parents weren’t vigilant.
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