A deepfake is a digitally altered video of a person which is seemingly genuine. These videos can be created for fun or for more critical purposes such as swaying an election. We covered how Deepfakes can potentially make online media less trustworthy and can even be a catalyst for social and political instability.
Contrary to popular belief, what can make deepfakes so insidious is not how real they look but how they support our own set of beliefs.
A photography scientist who works for the U.S government in detecting deepfakes found low quality videos can be as persuasive as more high quality attempts. In an environment where we don’t know what is fake and what is real, deepfakes bury us deeper into our preconceived notions.
This means deepfake creators do not need to rely on sophisticated technology to accomplish their goals. They can create low-quality deepfakes and take advantage of our confirmation bias to elicit a strong response. In India, fake Whatsapp messages led to multiple cases of mob lynchings in 2018.
This is not surprising at all.
Believing what serves us has been historically more crucial to our survival than the truth. As a result, there are a bunch of lies online, and a bunch of people believing them. The proliferation of a deepfake, even if fraudulent, can still damage a leader’s reputation.
Under these circumstances, you will have to build your reputation from the ground up and make sure your target customers already have a positive image of you. So if fake content breaks out, you can count on their positive bias of you. Remember, If they don’t know you it’s easier for fake content to shatter your reputation.
So how can you protect yourself online?
Build an online presence: If you are not visible online you do not exist. If your customers don’t know who you are deepfakes or other manufactured content can be exponentially more threatening to your reputation. This is why building online visibility is so important. If you are not visible you are allowing other agents to tell your story for you, instead of controlling the narrative.
Make sure you are telling your story, not others: Your audience needs to know where you stand on key issues–and they need to be reminded frequently. Once a large audience knows who you are and what you stand for, attacking you with lies will become more difficult. Make it very clear what your values are and what you stand for so there are no misinterpretations. It also helps to have a good reputation among employees, who will be more likely to confirm your story if you are a victim of disinformation.
Have a theme: Some of the most influential CEOs on social media have built their audiences by using a theme. Their communications are not just about them, or even their companies. These CEOs tie their social media content around a theme or topic that has made them successful or they are passionate about. Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Ray Dalio are examples of CEOs who have built their online reputation using themes.
Engage your audience: You need to engage your audience frequently to stay relevant. Someone who is relevant is harder to subdue with fake content. Regular posting on multiple platforms and being accessible to your audience in key moments is essential. If they forget about you, they will forget what you stand for.
While Facebook and even the government are figuring out how to detect deepfakes, for organization leaders protection should not necessarily come from technology advancements. It’s important to know how to identify deepfakes and educate your audience on how to do it, but it’s not enough. You need to have a strong online brand presence to limit the potential damage of deepfakes.
If you need assistance in building your online footprint or learning how to stay relevant online you can consult our group of digital media experts.
DON’T GET CAUGHT BY SURPRISE
We’ll send you our monthly newsletter, The Angry Mob, detailing stories of leaders on the wrong side of the public’s pitchfork.