Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Euro 2024: 'Deepfake' Gareth Southgate social media videos anger FA – BBC


The videos were made to look like Gareth Southgate news conferences
At a major tournament England head coach Gareth Southgate's words are analysed, deconstructed and debated.
But Euro 2024 has brought a new dimension – AI-generated fake interviews with the England boss that are being viewed by millions on social media.
These fake clips purporting to show Southgate making crude remarks about his players have been called "offensive" by the Football Association.
The videos have been circulating on TikTok and Instagram.
They include derogatory comments about England's Euro 2024 players as well as those who were not selected.
Comments on the social sites suggest the material, about players such as Phil Foden, Jordan Henderson, Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford, had been believed by some viewers.
The videos are all made to look like Southgate is giving press conferences, but use an AI voice generator to overlay fake words and artificially move his mouth.
In one of them the artificial voice apologises "to the nation" for the manager's performance and criticises players.
In another, the fake Southgate says: "I think we really missed Jordan Henderson's presence out there tonight."
BBC Sport spoke to several England fans in Germany who had seen the material on social media.
The majority said they found the content funny.
"It's the classic stereotypical British humour. It helps build a bit of morale to keep people motivated and happy, so I think it's harmless fun," one supporter told BBC Sport.
"Apparently, Gareth doesn’t read anything or watch any social media anyway."
Another described some of the videos as "quite funny" but pointed out it was not just the England manager who has been targeted.
"I've seen a lot of players and, during the season, [Jurgen] Klopp, Pep [Guardiola] and [Mikel] Arteta getting it too."
However, the FA said in a statement: "As we do with all harmful content we will take steps to have these offensive videos removed.
"Gareth and everyone in camp are focused on Sunday’s game."
England won Group C of Euro 2024 and face Slovakia in the last 16 – but there has been criticism of the way England have played as well as of Southgate personally.
Earlier this year London Mayor Sadiq Khan said deepfake audio of him supposedly making inflammatory remarks before Armistice Day almost caused "serious disorder".
And former Justice Secretary Sir Robert Buckland said AI videos in politics represent a "clear and present danger" to UK democracy.
While AI-generated content is allowed on TikTok and Instagram, there are rules on what content is considered harmful.
Shortly after the BBC approached TikTok about a number of videos on one account, the material disappeared.
It is understood it was taken down because it repeated violations of the platform's AIGC policies.
Meta, which owns Instagram, was also reviewing the material.
Experts warned that those in positions of power were not the only ones vulnerable to this kind of manipulation.
Professor Hany Farid, a digital forensics expert at the University of California, said: "It's not just people who have a big digital footprint whose identity can be co-opted.
"I can take as little as 30 seconds of someone’s voice, as short as a single image of somebody, and create deepfakes of them."
He added that there was a delicate balance to strike with regulation when it comes to satire.
"It's one thing to have an article that is satirical, making fun of a politician or an athlete," he said.
"It is very different to have a video of that person in their voice and in their likeness that can be quite offensive, and I think the courts, and we as a society, are going to have to think about where we draw that line."
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