Deepfake video of Zelensky ordering troops to surrender posted on hacked Ukrainian news website

Deepfake video of Zelensky ordering troops to surrender posted on hacked Ukrainian news website
Deepfake Zelenskyy surrender video is the 'first intentionally used' in Ukraine war

Social media platforms have rushed to take action against a fake, manipulated video pretending to show Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky surrendering to Russian troops following their invasion of the country last month.

The altered clip, reportedly posted on the website for the Ukrainian tabloid newspaper Segodnya, sees the president order Ukrainians to lay down their weapons, and has been dismissed by the news organisation.

In a post on Instagram, Segodyna blamed the video – which also made it on to live TV – on “enemy hackers”, adding that “nobody is going to give up”.

“Especially in conditions when the Russian army is defeated in battles with the Ukrainian army,” they wrote.

President Zelensky himself was also quick to slap down the deepfake, posting his own video in which he said: “If I can offer someone to lay down their arms, it’s the Russian military.

“Go home, because we’re home. We are defending our land, our children and our families.”

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Meanwhile, Nathaniel Gleicher, head of security policy at Facebook’s parent company Meta, shared a thread to Twitter on Wednesday evening detailing what the platform was doing about the video.

He said: “Earlier today, our teams identified and removed a deepfake video claiming to show President Zelensky issuing a statement he never did. It appeared on a reportedly compromised website and then started showing across the internet.

“We’ve quickly reviewed and removed this video for violating our policy against misleading manipulated media, and notified our peers at other platforms.”

YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi said in her own statement that the video and reuploads have been removed from the video sharing site for violating its policies on misinformation, but added that the clip is allowed “if it provides sufficient education, documentary, scientific or artistic context”.

A Twitter representative added they had taken “enforcement action” when their rules were broken, and said it was monitoring how the video is being shared on its platform.

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