Meta Platforms Inc., previously known as Facebook, has taken decisive action by removing a deepfake advertisement from its platforms. The deceptive ad, which surfaced on Instagram, misleadingly used footage of Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Virgin Media news anchor Colette Fitzpatrick, coupled with artificial intelligence-generated voiceovers. This ad, identified under the username ‘Tisane Trea,’ was first brought to light by a Sunday World investigation.
The advertisement deceitfully prompted the public to invest money in a scheme, guaranteeing returns and falsely claiming endorsement from the Irish Government and the Central Bank of Ireland’s Governor, Gabriel Makhlouf. Meta’s swift response involved the immediate removal of both the ad and the advertiser, as confirmed by a representative to the Sunday World.
The Perils of Internet Misinformation
Colette Fitzpatrick, directly impacted by the misuse of her image, stressed the importance of reliable news sources. She emphasized that Virgin Media News, which airs factual stories at designated times, had no association with the fake advertisement. Her comments underline the growing concern over the internet’s capacity for spreading false information.
Deepfakes, a technology enabling the creation of realistic yet fabricated audio and video content, have become increasingly accessible and affordable. This has led to heightened fears about the potential for misuse, as seen in this recent scam. Such incidents underscore the need for heightened awareness and vigilance in the digital age.
Emerging concerns and calls for regulation
Recent public opinion polls have shown a strong preference for regulatory measures to control the development and use of highly advanced AI systems. Critics argue that over-reliance on AI could lead to a decline in essential cognitive skills. An anecdotal example from a Dublin carpenter highlights this concern, noting that new entrants in the profession are struggling with basic tasks due to their dependence on technology.
This incident with the deepfake ad serves as a stark reminder of the challenges and potential dangers posed by advanced AI technologies. While AI offers numerous benefits, its capacity for misuse, as demonstrated in this scam, calls for more stringent oversight and public awareness. The need for effective regulation and ethical guidelines in AI development and usage is becoming increasingly evident as technology continues to advance.