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Jenna Fischer sex tape hoax: What are deepfake videos?

Jenna Fischer The Office star
Jenna Fischer sex tape hoax relied on deepfake video technology. Pic credit: @ImageCollect/S.buckley

A fake pornographic video recently emerged online appearing to feature the actress Jenna Fischer, best known for playing Pam Beasley on the NBC sitcom The Office.

According to Snopes, the doctored pornographic video, which appears to show Jenna Fischer performing sex acts, first appeared on a website called CelebJihad.

However, someone created the video using a new artificial intelligence-assisted video technology called deepfake to superimpose Jenna’s face on the body of an actress who had initially starred in a movie from the adult film series called Girls Do Porn.

What is deepfake video technology?

Although most of us are already familiar with Photoshop and other software that can be used to alter images, fake videos, known as deepfake videos, are a new and emerging trend.

The term deepfake is derived from “deep learning” and “fake.” It involves the use of machine learning technology or artificial intelligence-driven software to create new videos by altering existing images or videos.

The technology can be used to superimpose images and videos on each other.

Deepfake can be used to make people appear to be saying or doing things that they never said or did.

Samsung recently announced it had developed new software that can be used to create a fake video clip from only one image of the subject, according to CNet.

Software based on deepfake technology includes FakeApp, a desktop application launched in January 2018 that can be used to superimpose human faces. Open source deepfake software currently available include DeepFaceLab, myFakeApp, and FaceSwap.

Although deepfake technology offers a powerful tool that can provide useful and beneficial ends in many industries, including entertainment, people have recently been using the technology for mischief.

The technology can be used to create fake but convincing malicious hoaxes and fake news videos to sway voters and manipulate public opinion. The technology is being used increasingly for creating revenge porn videos and fake celebrity porn videos.

A report by the BBC last year noted deepfake pornographic videos of celebrities had flooded the internet. Besides Jenna Fischer, deepfake technology has reportedly been used to target several popular actresses, including Emma Watson, Gal Gadot, and Natalie Portman.

Public attention was first drawn to deepfake technology after Vice published an article in December 2017 about the subreddit r/deepfakes whose members were sharing pornographic and non-pornographic deepfake videos.

Reddit shut down r/deepfakes after it emerged that some members were sharing pornographic images of other people without their permission.

However, Reddit retained the r/SFWdeepfakes (Safe For Work Deepfakes) subreddit where members are allowed to share non-pornographic deepfake videos of celebrities and other public figures.

Several other websites, including Twitter and Pornhub, have also banned “involuntary pornography,” but several sites still allow the sharing of deepfake porn.

Back in April 2018, BuzzFeed posted a video that demonstrated the power of deepfake technology.

The video captioned “You Won’t Believe What Obama Says in This Video!” features the former President Barack Obama warning about the dangers of deepfake technology while saying things we usually wouldn’t expect him to say.

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