Tom Cruise has become a real phony — and he’s going viral for it.
A series of “deepfake” videos of the “Mission: Impossible” star has been seen more than 11 million times by Tuesday — with experts deeming them the most alarmingly lifelike examples so far of the high-tech hoax.
The videos of “Cruise” emerged on TikTok last week, starting with one claiming to be the 58-year-old actor practicing his golf swing.
“If you like what you’re seeing, just wait till what’s coming next,” the fake Cruise says — with the clip ending with an incredibly lifelike impersonation of the actor’s instantly recognizable maniacal laugh.
The same laugh was repeatedly on display in a follow-up video in which “Cruise” trips up and tells a rambling story about an apparent run-in with Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union.
The latest — and most realistic — clip emerged four days ago, with a close up of the deepfake Cruise performing a magic trick with a coin.
“I’m gonna show you some magic … It’s the real thing, he said while holding up the coin that he soon makes disappear.
“It’s all the real thing,” he says with intensity, waving his hand over his head in a clear meta joke about his fake face — and once again ending with a wild laugh.
Together, the three videos had been viewed more than 11 million times on TikTok by Tuesday, with many millions more seeing the clips shared on other social media.
At least one golfing website questioned whether they were the real thing, while many of the comments to the clips made clear that viewers assumed the “Top Gun” star had actually joined TikTok.
The giveaway, however, was the page’s name, “deeptomcruise” — which TikTok said gave enough context to keep on the site because they were not trying to trick viewers, the site told The Times of London.
The platform told the UK paper that it would remove digital forgeries “that mislead users by distorting the truth of events and cause harm to the subject of the video, other persons or society.”
It was not immediately clear who was behind the videos — but they were quickly seen as examples of how just worrying the technology has become.
“This is very much in the top 5 percent of deepfakes out there in terms of quality,” leading expert Henry Ajder told the UK Times.
It would have taken “many hours generating the faceswap and applying post-production edits” after an “excellent performance” by an impersonator, he tweeted.
“This technology is not going away,” Ajder said, warning that while the Cruise videos are entertaining “there is also a huge amount of really negative and malicious use cases,” with the technology already used in revenge porn as well as fake takes on politicians’ speeches.
University of California at Berkeley professor called the videos “incredibly well done” as he joined other experts in telling Fortune that the clips are among the most realistic to date.
Rachel Tobac, the CEO of online security company SocialProof, tweeted that the videos proved we had reached a stage of almost “undetectable Deepfakes.”
“Just because you feel you can personally tell the difference between synthetic & authentic media, it doesn’t mean we’re good to go. It matters what the general public believes,” she wrote.
Deepfakes will impact public trust, provide cover & plausible deniability for criminals/abusers caught on video or audio, and will be (and are) used to manipulate, humiliate, & hurt people,” saying they had “real world safety, political etc impact for everyone.”
“If you’re building manipulated/synthetic media detection technology, get it moving,” she implored technology companies.
The Post is reaching out to Cruise.
Author : Lee Brown