Lewis Scam

Deepfake Video of British Consumer Advice Celebrity Used in Investment Con

A deepfake video of trusted British consumer advice guide Martin Lewis is attempting to trick people into sending money for a fake investment. The scam advertisement backed by a similarly fraudulent Elon Musk endorsement shows how far synthetic media produced by generative AI has advanced and how it is becoming more widely used for both benign and destructive work.

Deepfake Lewis

Lewis makes a point of never advertising for third-party products or services. He has dealt with scams attempting to leverage his face or name to trick people out of their money for a long time. That includes fakes on Facebook, which he sued for defamation over fake Lewis endorsements on the platform in 2018. He settled in 2019 when parent company Meta agreed to change its operations, as well as make it easier to report problematic ads in the UK and help fund a scam advice service. Still, Lewis found his first encounter with a deepfake video of himself “frightening,” and he called out Facebook again over its part in spreading the video. Facebook’s advertising system would have helped disseminate the deepfake around at first, though the company pushed back somewhat over Martin’s accusations.

“We don’t allow this kind of advert on our platforms and the original video was proactively removed by our teams, we also removed a number of copycat adverts using the same imagery,” Meta said in a statement.

Lewis urged regulators to come up with ways to stop these kinds of deepfake creations from spreading. Deepfakes are one of the many issues surrounding AI that lawmakers are attempting to tackle right now. China recently issued updated deepfkae rules, and the European Union is close to passing its own AI regulatory system. The laws are behind the release of the technology in many ways, however. Chinese tech giant Tencent has begun selling custom deepfake virtual humans, as has virtual being developer Synthesia. And synthetic media startup D-ID can create a digital replica of someone within a few minutes on its Creative Reality Studio, even producing videos from a single photo. Deepfake clones of real people like Hour One’s Taryn Southern and Dom Esposito clones or the virtual Jack Nicklaus built by Soul Machines are popping up more frequently as well. The above-board and approved deepfakes are only one side of the coin, as Lewis’ experience shows, and any regulations will have to account for both sides of the technology.

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