March 17, 2023

Understanding Deepfakes: Equip students to spot misinformation on social media

Anyone with a free app can now accomplish what was once only achievable by sophisticated technology and computer whizzes. Deepfakes, which are inauthentic digital content made with artificial intelligence (AI) technology, are now going viral on popular social media apps such as TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter. Creating deepfakes used to require elaborate software— now, with the help of widely available AI, anyone can make an altered video that looks authentic. 

Social media can already be challenging for students to navigate, especially when it comes to posts that contain misinformation. Deepfakes contribute to this issue by creating fake and sometimes harmful content that looks very real. However, manipulated content on social media is nothing new. Misinformation is 70% more likely to be tweeted than the truth & spreads 6x faster than factual, credible information. By equipping students with the skills to spot it, we can empower them to evaluate whether what they see is true or not, so they can help stop incorrect information from spreading.

All about deepfakes & their potential dangers 

So what exactly are deep fakes? Deepfakes are videos that have been manipulated to make it look like someone is doing or saying something they never did. Deepfakes can include putting one person’s face onto another’s body, cloning voices, and altering mouth movements. 

Deepfakes make it difficult for students to tell whether the information being shared is true or not, which can quickly spread on social media and cause harm. The creation of deepfakes was once limited to skilled individuals who owned and knew how to operate elaborate software. However, new AI tools offer technology to everyday internet users, giving anyone the ability to make their own fake, but convincing videos. 

Though platforms like YouTube and TikTok have policies in place that prohibit misleading and untruthful content, some experts worry that social media companies are not prepared to control the spread of deepfakes. Whether or not a misleading video is taken down, it still has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of students. This is why it’s vital for students to find their influencers, think critically about the information they’re shown, and surround themselves with credible influences. 

TSI’s Take

Social media helps students connect with their loved ones, share causes they care about, and create a lot of positive change when used responsibly. However, with deepfakes increasing and spreading more widely, it’s more important than ever to equip students with the skills to spot deepfakes and misinformation. By staying vigilant and being critical about the content they see on social media, students can continue to use these platforms as powerful tools for communication, friendship, and kindness. 💗 

Empower your students to identify deepfakes on their feeds by encouraging them to look for: 

  • Inconsistencies in color and lighting
  • Unnatural eye movements
  • Strange body shapes or movements
  • Poor or off-sync audio

For more ideas on how to empower and encourage your students to consume meaningful & reliable content, contact us today. 

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The Social Institute (TSI) is the leader in understanding student experiences and creator of #WinAtSocial, a gamified, online learning platform that equips students, educators, and families to navigate social experiences — online and offline — in healthy ways. Our unique, student-respected approach incorporates topics like social media, technology use, and current events that have a significant impact on student well-being. Lessons teach life skills for the modern day to inspire high-character decisions that support the health, happiness, and future success of students, while capturing data that provides insights to school leaders to inform school policy and communications, and enable high-impact teaching and a healthy learning environment. For schools, our turnkey technology allows for easy implementation and a comprehensive game plan to support the well-being of school communities. For schools, our turnkey technology allows for easy implementation and a comprehensive game plan to support the well-being of school communities.