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There are almost 15k deepfake videos out there—and 96% of them are porn

Deeptrace is tracking the spread of photorealistic, fraudulent videos online, and the results are both surprising (the level of growth) and not (the focus on porn.)

There are almost 15k deepfake videos out there—and 96% of them are porn
[Photo: Creedi Zhong/Unsplash]

What: A new report on the (rapidly expanding) state of deepfakes.

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Who: Amsterdam-based cybersecurity company Deeptrace.

Why we care: Don’t believe your eyes. If special effects in movies have reached a level of realism that’s made the uncanny valley all but disappear, it was only a matter of time before similar visual trickery would be deployed outside the cineplex. Barack Obama and Jordan Peele joined forces with BuzzFeed last year to demonstrate just how convincing deepfakes—videos that use A.I. to digitally puppeteer people—could be to the casual observer. Since then, the manipulative practice has proliferated, inspiring internet culture along with the art world and advertising industry. As fears intensify around how this practice may influence the upcoming presidential election, a new report suggests that deepfakes have hit one particular area far more than most, in a rather predictable way.

According to CNN, some 96% of the deepfakes that have emerged over the past year consist of pornographic content, all of it featuring women. Cybersecurity specialists Deeptrace have found at least 14,678 deepfake videos online in a recent search, an 84% hike over its first online count in 2018. The vast majority of it is geared around grafting female celebrities’ faces onto those of porn actors to create artificial sex tapes. Deeptrace found that more than 13,000 such videos were concentrated on just nine deepfake-centric porn sites, which it declined to name for fear of stoking publicity for them. (Apparently, eight of the 10 most popular porn sites had deepfakes lurking in their databases, though.)

The company’s report also notes that deepfakes have become a burgeoning industry unto themselves, with businesses offering to make custom deepfakes in as little as two days, with prices as low as $3 per video. Although the quality of these videos ranges from staggering to dirt-poor, the speed and breadth at which fake news has spread over the past few years suggests an alarming number of people use less scrutiny when they want to believe something.

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