Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has removed a deep-fake video of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issuing a statement he did not make, asking Ukrainians to lay down their arms and submit to Russia.

The deep-fake video appears to have been first broadcast by Ukrainian news site TV24 after an alleged hack.

The video clip shows Zelensky standing behind a presidential podium and in front of a background, both of which feature the Ukrainian coat of arms.

Wearing a green shirt and speaking in Ukrainian, Zelensky appears to be telling Ukrainians to lay down their arms in the weeks-long war against Russia.

Meta’s head of security policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, posted a series of tweets announcing that the video had been removed from the company’s platforms.

“Our teams have identified and removed a deepfake video showing President Zelensky issuing a statement he did not make,” he said. It appeared on a website that was hacked and then started appearing online. We reviewed and quickly removed this video for violating our policies, and notified our peers on other platforms.

The Ukrainian government earlier this month issued a statement warning soldiers and civilians to stop when they encounter videos of Zelensky online, especially if he announces his surrender to the Russian invasion.

Facebook Banned Deepfakes in 2020

The Ukrainian Center for Strategic Communications said in the statement that the Russian government is likely using deepfake technology to persuade Ukrainians to surrender.

As the statement said, it is almost impossible to distinguish videos produced through these technologies from real ones. When watching such videos, you must know that they are fake and their goal is to confuse the citizens, sow panic and disbelief, and incite our forces to retreat.

After the deepfake video started circulating online, Zelensky posted a video on his official Instagram account exposing the fakeness of the video.

Regarding the recent provocation, which includes advice to lay down arms, he said, I advise the forces of the Russian Federation to lay down their arms and go home. We are at home and defend Ukraine.

Facebook banned deepfakes and other manipulated videos from its platforms in 2020 ahead of the US presidential election.

The policy includes content generated by artificial intelligence or machine learning algorithms that can mislead users.

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