24.2 C
Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Editorial: The age of deep fake

Latest News

Local youth among those hardest hit by housing affordability crisis

A 20 per cent spike in rents is driving an increase in youth homelessness across the North Coast, the organisers of a national campaign to end homelessness say.

Other News

The ghost in the archives #3: Sexism, legal discrimination and ‘the game of bastardry’

The ghost in the archives #3 – In which a former Echo drudge dives into the crypt and comes up covered in dusty memories.

Step up, Ben

Martin Corben, Lennox Head With the cancellation of Bluesfest now would be a good time for the NSW state government’s...

Community land trust

Shane Sylvanspring, Mullumbimby I want to congratulate and applaud Cr Paul Spooner, Mayor Simon Richardson, and planning staff for supporting and...

Hanging points

Jo Faith, Newtown Many thanks to The Echo for printing ex-magistrate David Heilpern’s remarkable article articulating the ongoing tragic situation surrounding...

Remembering and Healing – the Northern Rivers peace effort

The community of Lismore are invited to join events organised by the Remembering and Healing (RaH) group over the weekend encompassing ANZAC Day.

Follow the buck$

JK Mckenna, Burringbar Give Fast Buck$ his own column in the paper. Let him speak. Let him be heard. Let’s also...

Hans Lovejoy, editor

‘The first casualty when war comes is truth’, US senator Hiram Johnson (1866–1945) reportedly said.

As the dust settles from May 18, the first casualty from the federal election appears political polling, with The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax, owned by Nine) having ‘pressed pause’ on publishing predictions from polling companies such as Ipsos and others. The move follows anger and confusion at the misleading federal election prediction.

Busting our collective perceptions about polling that uses outdated technologies is a good start towards a clearer understanding of whatever truth is.

Next would be holding social media giant Facebook to account for allowing misinformation and lies to spread. Last week, Facebook admitted that it knew a fake video of US senator Nancy Pelosi appearing drunk was shared millions of times on its platform, yet says it won’t remove fake videos because it’s not in the news business. Even Murdoch’s US Fox network reported the video of Pelosi to be fake.

Facebook have always been firmly in the fake-news business and have never understood or cared for the important job of news dissemination and analysis. On Twitter and other social media platforms that are replied upon for ‘news’, fake news has become embedded into the psyche.

The latest tool for furthering illiterate distrust and division is called deep fake. Its origins began in 2016 with the launch of the Face2Face program. It modifies video footage of a person’s face to depict them mimicking the facial expressions of another person in real time. That technology has developed into deepfake, with doctored pornography (including revenge porn) surfacing on the internet around 2017.

In January 2018, a free desktop application called FakeApp was launched, which allows users to easily create and share videos with faces swapped.

Mass deception from artificial intelligence (AI) has now again leapt to a new level, with www.sciencealert.com reporting last week that the Samsung AI Center, based in Moscow, have developed a way to create ‘living portraits’ from a very small dataset (as small as a single photograph, in a few models). Realistic talking heads can be generated from a single image, including putting words into their mouths.

Yet despite the impending uncertainty of reality, Finland appears to be winning the war on fake news.

According to www.cnn.com, since 2014, students have been taught a checklist of methods to deceive readers on social media. They include image and video manipulations, half-truths, intimidation, and false profiles. Bot (AI robot) and stock photo identification is also covered, along with assessing the volume of posts per day and a lack of personal information.

News tips are welcome: [email protected]

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. All of the above covers why I’m not on Facebook.
    Its ownership speaks for itself. The Election
    ‘sludge’ was obvious to many of us – & there’s
    no way of stopping its carpet-bombing lies &
    manipulation. The Echo / online is one of the
    very few independent-can’t-be-bought or
    bullied news outlets known for its honest &
    all too human reporting. Yes, Social Media’s
    become the ‘nightmare in the closet’ to all.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Fresh faces for Council elections

A very distinct, black flat-cap has just been thrown into the ring for the upcoming Byron Council elections, pegged for September 4.

Follow the buck$

JK Mckenna, Burringbar Give Fast Buck$ his own column in the paper. Let him speak. Let him be heard. Let’s also see some accountability from councils...

A bouquet for Lilac House

L Jenkins, Byron Bay Nicole Habrecht should receive free paint and brushes and a pat on the back from Council for maintaining her house in a...

Bruns boarding house showdown Thursday

The stage is set for a crucial debate over the Brunswick Heads ‘Corso’ development in Byron Council this week, with staff recommending that the developer’s revised plans be approved.