If you enjoy surfing social media, you've probably heard about deepfake videos. These videos are created using artificial intelligence and can make it look like someone did or said something they didn't. Creators of deepfake videos will either superimpose a person's face over someone else's or sync fake audio with a real video. While the thought of being fooled by a deepfake might be scary, you can spot them if you pay close attention to what you're watching.
Method 1 of 3:Examining the Image
1Look for blurring on the person's face that's not in the rest of the video. When someone's face is superimposed over someone else's, their face rarely fits perfectly. That means the video's creator will need to blur certain areas to hide the fact that the video is fake. Look closely at the person's face to see if you notice any blurring. Then, compare the face to the person's body, the background, and objects in the video to see if the face appears blurry in comparison.
Their skin tone may also look different at the edges of their face.
Tip: Their face may get especially blurry when they move something in front of it, like their hand or a coffee mug.
2Check for double edges around the eyes, mouth, and face. Look at the eyes, eyebrows, lips, and face outline to see if you can see 2 edges. This happens when a person's face is superimposed over a face that has a noticeably different face shape. When you see these irregularities, it's likely you're looking at a deepfake.
For instance, you might notice a weird outline around the person's eyes or mouth. Similarly, you might notice that their eyebrows are 2 different colors.
Tip: You may also notice that hair and teeth are missing. When they smile, check to see if the teeth look real or not.
3Consider if the person in the video rarely blinks. People typically blink every 2-10 seconds, and each blink takes 1/10 to 4/10 of a second. However, deepfake programs aren't able to accurately depict blinking, so you'll notice less blinking. Watch the person's eyes to see if they blink normally.
Count between blinks to help you determine if it's normal.
4Notice if the person's eyes look weird when they blink or close. Deepfake programs use existing photos of a person to create a simulation of them. However, most people aren't photographed with their eyes closed, so it's hard for the program to simulate closed eyes. Pay careful attention to the person's eyes to see if they look odd while they're closed.
The eyes may look blurry, discolored, or computerized if the video is a deepfake.
5Look for shadows and reflections that don't match up. Some deepfake videos are made by combining 2 videos. Fortunately, you may be able to spot these fakes by checking the placement of shadows and reflections. Typically, every shadow should go in the same direction, including shadows from people, buildings, and large items. Similarly, reflective surfaces like mirrors, windows, and water surfaces will show consistent reflections.
This works great for videos that don't focus on a speaker's face. For instance, if you're looking at a crowd on the street, check to see that the shadows from the buildings and members of the crowd go in the same direction.
Similarly, let's say you're looking at a video of a protest that allegedly got out of control. If you noticed that the storefront windows in the video showed the reflections of just 2 people while the video had a crowd of people, it may be a deepfake.
6Make sure everything in the video looks like it's to scale. Since these videos are altered, the people, objects, and background may not match up. Look for inconsistencies, like buildings that are too big, body parts that look misshapen, and objects that look larger than usual. These can be a sign the video is a fake.
As an example, you might notice that the people in a protest seem really tall compared to the buildings around them.
Similarly, you may notice that a person's head looks way too big for their body.
Method 2 of 3:Checking the Audio
1Read the person's lips to see if it matches the audio. Focus on the person's lips as they speak and watch to see if their lips are forming the words they're saying. Additionally, notice if the lips appear to simply move up and down without actually forming words. This might be a sign that the video is a fake.
For example, say the word “oh” and notice how your lips make an “o” shape. Then, say the word “hi” and notice that your mouth opens more and doesn't make an “o.” The person who's speaking in the video should be making the same shapes with their mouth.
2Notice if the person's reactions don't match up with what they're saying. Typically, when a person speaks, their facial expression, tone, and gestures all match up with what they're saying. Since deepfakes aren't real, the person's reactions and expressions may not match up with what they're saying. Pay careful attention to how they seem to feel about what they're saying to see how it compares to what's being said.
Let's say you're watching a video of a presidential candidate who's saying that they hate their country. If you notice that the person seems to be shaking hands and laughing as they talk, you might suspect that it's a fake video.
Similarly, let's say that the person in the video is a politician who's declaring that they aren't going to do their job anymore and instead they're just going to throw pies at congress. If their tone and facial expressions appear very serious, it's likely the video is a fake.
3Listen for sound issues, like volume issues, voice changes, or glitches. Pay attention to the audio so you'll notice if some words and phrases are louder than others or if the voice seems dubbed. Additionally, consider if the speech sounds robotic or like the syllables were forced together. These might be signs of a fake video.
For instance, you might notice that the speech sounds autotuned and mechanical.
4Notice if the person's voice doesn't sound right. A lip synced deepfake video takes an existing video and adds different audio. If the new speech is very similar to the old speech, it might be hard to spot visual differences. However, consider if the person's voice sounds different than usual. This can be a sign of a fake.
For example, let's say you're watching a video of an actor admitting to assaulting someone. If their voice sounds different, it could be a fake.
5Consider if the speaker is using a monotone voice. When the speaker's voice can't be accurately duplicated, it's common for a video's creator to add a monotone voice instead. Notice if the speech seems to lack all emotion and inflection. If it does, you may be watching a fake.
For example, let's say you're watching a video of a politician calling for war. If the person seems disinterested and their tone of voice is flat, it's likely the video is a deepfake.
Method 3 of 3:Evaluating the Credibility
1Trace the video back to its source. Look to see if a credible website or account is sharing the video. Similarly, check the URL of the video to see if it's from a legitimate website. If it's not, then the video is likely a fake.
For example, let's say the video originated from a page called “Bob Hates Politics.” This may make you question it's legitimacy.
However, if the Washington Post shared the video, it might be real.
2Search the contents of the video to look for corroborating sources. Open your favorite Internet browser and type in the topics you see brought up in the video. Then, go through your results to look for credible sources that back up or discredit the contents of the video. Read the articles you find to figure out if the video may be a fake.
For example, let's say you see a video of a senator saying she wants to ban all religions. You could type “senator wants to ban all religions” into your search bar. Then, read what comes up, but also check the credibility of your sources.
3Consider where the video is being shared. Most deepfakes are shared directly to social media, like Facebook and Twitter. From there, it's common for them to go viral. When you see these videos, look at the original profile that shared it. Additionally, check if you can find it being shared on other sites.
For example, let's say you're on Facebook and you see a video of a politician you hate saying something really stupid. Before you assume it's real, check several credible news sites to see if they're sharing the video, too. If it's real, chances are every news outlet is going to be sharing it.
4Question videos that seem too crazy to be true. Deepfake videos usually include inflammatory, embarrassing, or satirical material. That means they'll likely trigger a strong reaction in you. When you see material that seems particularly upsetting or over-the-top, consider that it might not be true. Then, do your own research to find out if you can believe what you saw in the video.
It's especially hard to do this if you see something that confirms someone you dislike is a terrible person. However, it's important that you verify what you're seeing before you believe it.
Try not to share videos that you aren't sure are real because it spreads false information.