February 29, 2024

Deepfakes are a tool of artificial intelligence that can be identified by odd shadows, glares, or mismatches between audio and video, but cheaper and easier to deploy “cheapfakes” are becoming more prevalent. When it comes to cheapfakes, it’s not the images themselves that are fake, but they are simply manipulated through readily available software. Cheapfakes have been used in the Israel-Hamas conflict to spread disinformation, including a digitally altered memo, a video with altered subtitles, and a fake representation of pro-Palestinian protesters. Cheapfakes can lead to negative consequences by dehumanizing entire groups of people and spreading false narratives, especially in the absence of access to verified information from journalists. During times of crises such as war, disinformation often spikes, and the emotional nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict makes people more prone to believe and share fake content. Experts recommend slowing down and fact-checking images and videos before sharing, and it is up to individuals to discern the truth behind potentially manipulated media content. Although tools like a reverse image search can help identify original sources, they aren’t always reliable, and paying attention to one’s emotions can help filter out fake content. In times of disinformation, it is important for individuals to be mindful of what they choose to believe and share.

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