BJP leader Manoj Tiwari used deepfake videos to reach out to voters in Delhi: Report

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on February 19, 2020

Manoj Tiwari

The videos in Hindi, English and Haryanvi helped the party reach out to voters from different linguistic groups

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Manoj Tiwari used Artificial Intelligence to create deepfake videos during the Delhi assembly elections, Vice has reported.

According to the report, the BJP IT cell collaborated with the Ideaz Factory to create ‘positive campaigns’ using deepfake technology to reach out to voters from different linguistic groups. The three videos of Tiwari were made in Hindi, English and Haryanvi.

According to Neelkant Bakshi, co-incharge of social media and IT for BJP Delhi, who is cited in the Vice report, the videos which went viral on WhatsApp, helped them convincingly approach the target audience, even if the representative could not speak the language of the voter.

Bakshi told Vice that these deepfakes were distributed across 5,800 WhatsApp groups in the Delhi and NCR region, reaching approximately 15 million people. Tiwari targeted Haryanvi speaking migrants residing in Delhi and dissuaded them from voting for the Aam Aadmi Party, who later won the assembly election, the report added.

Tiwari’s 44-second monologue seated against a green backdrop, was used to create forged versions of the video. Ideaz Factory also included lines that he had never said. According to the company, the lip-sync deepfake algorithm was used to superimpose forged versions of the video in the original copy. A mimic artist was also hired to impersonate Tiwari and deliver his speech in different languages.

This is not the first time the political arena has witnessed the use of technology to created forged videos. In 2018, a comedian impersonated Barak Obama and delivered a PSA video on how deepfakes can be deceptive.

Another instance when AI was used to create deepfakes was when Ali Bongo, the president of the East African nation of Gabon, reportedly led an unsuccessful coup by the country’s military.

Published on February 19, 2020

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