Joe Biden Ukraine draft video goes viral, showing the dangers of deepfakes

An image of President Joe Biden speaking during the December speech that was used to create a deepfake of the president announcing a national draft for the war in Ukraine

A video of United States president Joe Biden announcing a national draft for the war in Ukraine has gone viral. The video is fake with artificial intelligence using deepfake technology.

Posted on Twitter, the short video shows President Biden falsely announcing a national draft for the United States. A draft is a mandatory military enrolment and has been suspended in the US since the last years of the Vietnam War in 1973.

Using deepfake technology, the video has Biden announcing the reinstatement of the draft to fight Russian forces in Ukraine. This comes after the real-life announcement that the United States will support Ukraine with an extra half-billion dollars.

Via Verify, a fact-checking website, the viral video was exposed as being fake. The report reveals that the video was created by Conservative media website Turning Point USA using official White House footage from December, 2021.

Alongside realistic video footage, Biden’s voice has been completely cloned to further sell the fake announcement. In recent weeks, this technology has been used to make comedy videos of different presidents playing video games together. However, this video proves that the technology can and will be used for fear-mongering and disinformation.

In the comments of the viral post, many were fully sold on the fake Joe Biden announcement. Multiple commenters shared hints on how to avoid the draft while others blamed “woke” democrats for reinstating the draft.

This isn’t the first deepfake we’ve seen come out of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Earlier in the brutal war, Russian hackers created a fake video of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy surrendering to the Russian military.

Deepfake technology has been used to create a number of fun entertainment videos, including in major series such as The Mandalorian. However, the manipulative tech has also been used for political sabotage as well as creating explicit videos of female celebrities without their consent.

The technology has proved so controversial that deepfake research has been banned from services such as Google Collab. While it does have its place in the entertainment sector, Google feels that the general public can’t be trusted.

At the time of writing, deepfakes are considered to be in their infancy. However, if this is what can be done with modern deepfakes — creating public panic in mere hours — what will be done with future iterations?

For more articles like this, take a look at our News, AI, and Dystopia pages.