Deepfake TikTok videos of Tom Cruise watched by millions… 3/3/21

A new series of Tom Cruise videos have been racking up the views since appearing on TikTok last week. They feature the Mission: Impossible star swinging a golf club, performing a magic trick, and tripping over his own two feet in an unusual move for the normally agile actor. There’s just one small catch: It’s not really Cruise.

In what’s being described by experts as “the most alarmingly lifelike examples” of Deepfake technology, according to the New York Post, the Cruise videos have been captivating social media users due to how closely they pass for the real thing. Of course, the terrifying implications of Deepfake tech is that it can be used for nefarious reasons by creating extremely realistic videos of anyone from world leaders to celebrities doing things that they’re not actually doing.

“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. If you’re building manipulated/synthetic media detection technology, get it moving,” online security expert Rachel Tobac tweeted shortly after the Cruise videos went viral. “Also important to mention that 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. Altered media has real world safety, political, etc. impact for everyone.”