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The World Of 'Deepfake' Videos Is Growing At A Scary Pace

Fake news is set to get harder to stop with the rise of deepfake videos, where a person's face can almost perfectly be swapped with another.

Deepfake videos involve digitally transplanting a person’s face from one video onto another -- essentially co-opting their features to make a new video.

There are plenty of examples of these videos being used for harmless fun, such as Steve Buscemi’s recent 'cameo' as Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence.

But deepfake videos also have far more nefarious applications.

They're also used in pornography. Actresses such as Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot and Emma Watson, known for her portrayal of Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series, have had their faces placed onto the bodies of porn stars.

There have also been examples of deepfakes being used to manipulate the words of politicians.

The process is becoming more and more automated. As technology advances, these videos are popping up quicker.

The time scale depends on which types of technology is used and the types of video being edited, with the movement of the camera, the background and the subject key factors in the creation process.

Barack Obama and Jordan Peele are just two mashups seen on the internet. (Image AAP

"If there are strong camera motions, and then maybe there's a person moving more quickly, maybe simple technologies cannot work very well," Professor Dong Xu, head of Computer Engineering at the Sydney University School of Electrical and Information Engineering told 10 daily.

"You may need some advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to solve that problem."

According to Xu, the videos can be doctored using multiple technologies depending on the complexity of the film. For example, the Buscemi video above could only require simple video editing tech, with minimal help from AI.

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So how can a video be taken down from the internet when it's discovered to be a deepfake, whether it be fake news, pornography or some other deceptive or offensive material?

Gal Gadot is one Hollywood star who has been a victim of 'deep fake porn'.

One issue is that the internet and particularly social media is very much a global market. If a video is hosted on a website based in another country, it can lead to serious jurisdictional issues.

“If that image is being distributed around the internet and is being hosted on websites in countries where there is no cooperation or no recognition of laws in the home jurisdiction, you’ve almost got no chance of removing it,” Tyrone Kirchengast, associate professor of Criminal Law at Sydney University Law School, told 10 daily.

He believes one of the more effective ways to combat these videos, due to the difficulty of finding the creators, is to approach social media companies that may be hosting the video directly.

One of the most effective ways to remove these videos is to ask any social media hosts to remove the offending video. (Image AAP)

“You approach the social media firm and they use their community guidelines and if they are truly offensive, clearly offensive, they’ll be taken down,” said Kirchengast.

As the technology evolves it's only going to get harder to discern which videos are real and which are fake.

Feature Image: Getty Contact the author: mgay@networkten.com.au