Deepfake videos of Sir Keir Starmer have been posted on the first day of Labour Party conference in a move that underlines the threat posed by deepfake technology and AI in UK politics.
The fake video of the Labour leader emerged on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Sunday morning as senior figures and party activists gathered in Liverpool.
A deepfake usually involves an image or video in which a person or object is visually or audibly manipulated to say and do something that is fabricated.
The first fake audio, posted by an account with less than 3,000 followers, purports to capture the Labour leader abusing party staffers – but the audio is not real and the incident did not happen.
The second makes out that Sir Keir is criticising the city of Liverpool.
The emergence of the audio is reminiscent of the recent elections in Slovakia, where a fake audio recording emerged of Michal Šimečka, the leader of the Progressive Slovakia Party, apparently engaged in a conversation with a leading journalist from a daily newspaper discussing how to rig the election.
The pair immediately confirmed that the audio was fake and that the conversation did not happen.
Analysis by the AFP news agency found that the audio showed signs of being manipulated with AI.
Former populist prime minster Robert Fico ultimately won the election on a ticket to withdraw his country’s military support for Ukraine.
It is unclear what impact, if any, the false video had on the outcome of the election, but the journalist featured in it, Monika Todova, later told the the Times she was “disgusted” by it.