After Donald Trump tested positive for coronavirus early Friday morning, the president took to Twitter the same evening to release a recording in which he expressed thanks for the support he has received and claimed to be “doing very well” as he prepared to head to Walter Reed Medical Center.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2020
Not long after the clip was posted, a trio of producers took to Twitter to respond to the footage and speculate that it’s a deepfake — a synthetic video or audio recording that looks as if it’s real.
“This is the second time I’ve seen the Trump campaign issue a video that looks like a deep fake,” tweeted creative writer and producer Brian Walton.
“They put a deep fake video of Trump out,” tweeted producer Jeremy Wein.
“Ok deepfake,” tweeted producer Rob Rousseau.
Per WKBN, Trump used the clip to ease concerns over his health before he headed to a medical center for an overnight stay.
“I think I’m doing very well but we’re going to make sure that things work out. The first lady is doing very well. So thank you very much. I appreciate it. I will never forget it.”
Trump later arrived at Walter Reed Medical Center after being transported by helicopter as a precautionary measure, NBC News reported. According to press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Trump — who went uncharacteristically silent on social media after the announcement of his infection — will be working from the presidential offices at the location.
As reported by NPR, 2018 deepfake footage of former President Barack Obama showcased the power of the artificial technology behind the synthetic media, which experts believe will soon become a more widespread phenomenon. Notably, Matt Turek, who heads an office at the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency that focuses on detecting manipulated media, claimed that the technology would soon become easier to use.
“This sort of technology is going to continue to advance, so these sorts of capabilities are going to become easier to use.”
As of now, Turek said that deepfake mechanics are complex and resource-intensive, and there is supposedly no single app that can provide a simple interface for creating such content.
Although deepfakes have not become common in the current political season, one showed Biden sticking his tongue out — a clip that was retweeted by Trump.
As The Inquisitr reported, Reddit previously banned its Deepfake subreddit in 2018 after manipulated clips of Meghan Markle, Taylor Swift, and Ivanka Trump emerged on the platform.