First time in Delhi elections, BJP uses Deepfake on WhatsApp, a synthetic media widely used in pornography

For the first time perhaps in the world, Artificial Intelligence was used in an election. BJP used it to create two fake videos of Delhi state chief Manoj Tiwari during Delhi assembly elections

First time in Delhi elections, BJP uses Deepfake on WhatsApp, a synthetic media widely used in pornography
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NH Web Desk

Amid the news reports about the BJP using fake news on line creating an uproar on social media, another shocking revelation by news website Vice has come to the fore which proves that the world’s largest party the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) used artificial intelligence (AI) technology to create two fake videos of Delhi state chief Manoj Tiwari. Using the ‘deepfake’ technology, which is widely used in pornography, hoaxes and financial frauds, Tiwari has been morphed realistically in these videos to show him talking in two different languages to appeal to different voter groups during Delhi assembly election in February.

By using AI, Deepfake creates morphed videos which look very real. It can even synchronise lip movements so that a person can be seen speaking different languages or we can simply say that words can be literally put in the mouth of another person.

A thorough analysis by Vice news website of Tiwari's 44-second monologue led to the discovery of the use of ‘Deepfake’ by Bharatiya Janta Party.

In one of the videos, Tiwari speaks in Haryanvi language. He calls out the promises of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party. In the original video, Tiwari is saying the exact same lines, but in Hindi. Every gesture, every frame is the same, except the facial expressions and lip syncing that copies the language he's speaking.

"Congratulations, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act has been passed in the Rajya Sabha..." he says in Hindi.

The videos were shared in some 5,800 WhatsApp groups, according to the BJP.

Courtesy: Vice.com

Courtesy: Vice.com

Courtesy: Vice.com

According to a report in NDTV, Delhi BJP media in-charge Neelkant Bakshi said, "It (video) was (shared on) around 5,800 (WhatsApp groups). It was internal. A lot of people came back with inputs saying the videos were interesting, especially the Haryanvi dialect. It's great, people liked it. Someone asked why don't we do it in English. So I requested the volunteer to speak to the company to give us an English one to see, if lip syncing is the same or not,"

"We have no contract with the company, we don't know which company it is, I have never met them," Bakshi said.

A Chandigarh based firm Ideaz factor had made the deepfake content for the BJP. "Cannot comment because of client-agency relationship," Ideaz Factory said to NDTV.

An artificial Intelligence security analyst said that deepfake videos and audio content have not been widely used in elections. He further said that but there are fears over their misuse for spreading political misinformation. The BJP argued that it has used the technology positively for its own leader and not as a hit job against any rival.

According to a report in NDTV, technology journalist Nilesh Christopher, who broke the story on Vice said, "Deepfake technology has debuted in India for a positive election campaign, probably it's a first in the world. I contacted the firm, who sent me the video. They use an AI algorithm into which they feed hours and hours of public speeches by politicians, in this case, Manoj Tiwari's, so that whatever audio is fed it can be manipulated to speak in a way you want,"

"Initially, the company said they have an arrangement with the BJP. They said it was a trial of two videos to reach to Haryanvi-speaking audience. Later, they said they won't comment any further," he said.

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