Viral Tom Cruise Deepfake Videos Raise Concern Over Advanced Technology

TikTok, where videos of someone’s perfect impersonations of the actor are mostly uploaded, states it does not allow digital forgeries ‘that mislead users by distorting the truth of events.’

AceShowbizTom Cruise may not be an avid user of TikTok, but his name has been lately associated with the app after Deepfake videos of his impersonator were posted on the platform. Fans couldn’t help freaking out after seeing how a fake Cruise’s perfect impersonations of the actor, combined with the technology that replaces the person’s face with the “Mission: Impossible” star’s, almost convinced people that the actor joined the video-sharing app.

In one of the videos posted under the name @deeptomcruise, a fake Cruise performs a magic trick with a coin. “I’m going to show you some magic. It’s the real thing. I mean, uh, it’s all…the real…thing,” the impersonator says in the video, nailing Cruise’s voice.

With sharp eyes, however, fans noticed that the man’s eye color and eye shape briefly change at the end of the clip. The Cruise Deepfake videos have since raised concern about the use of advanced technology.

Noting how eerie the impersonations and the videos are, one person tweeted, “Deep fakes are getting scary good and taking over TikTok. Every public figure should just be on there with a verified account – even if they don’t want to make content – to make it easier to identify their fakes.” Another expressed similar concern, “I am genuinely scared by this Tom Cruise deepfake. It’s brilliant but it’s terrifying.”

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Someone even pointed out that TikTok actually banned Deepfakes in August 2020, but somehow the Cruise Deepfake videos are still available on the platform. The said person wrote, “TikTok banned deep fakes last year. But then a deepfake Tom Cruise showed up there and got 11 million views. Synthetic media tech seems to be developing faster than the tools built to detect it.”

Deepfake refers to media generated and manipulated by A.I., most frequently by swapping one person’s head or face onto another person’s body. MIT Technology Review said most deepfakes since late 2018 have been used for nonconsensual porn, such as putting an ex-girlfriend’s head on an adult film star’s body.

Ajder said the Cruise videos are entertaining, but “there is also a huge amount of really negative and malicious use cases.” Rachel Tobac, the CEO of online security company SocialProof, told the New York Post that the Cruise videos are so well done that its implications are scary.

“Deepfakes will impact public trust, provide cover & plausible deniability for criminals/abusers caught on video or audio, and will be (and are) used to manipulate, humiliate, & hurt people,” he explained, adding they had “real world safety, political etc impact for everyone.”

Speaking of its stance on the use of Deepfake, TikTok told the Times that it does not allow digital forgeries “that mislead users by distorting the truth of events and cause harm to the subject of the video, other persons or society.” However, it allows “deeptomcruise” to remain active because the username makes it clear they were not trying to trick viewers.

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