Kiev: Facebook’s parent company, Meta has announced that it removed a deepfake video of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asking citizens to “lay down arms” amid Russia’s ongoing war on Kiev.
In the video, Zelensky appears to stand behind a presidential podium and in front of a backdrop, both of which feature the Ukrainian coat of arms.
Wearing a green shirt, Zelensky speaks in Ukrainian, appearing to tell his countrymen to put down their weapons, reports Sky News.
However, Nathaniel Gleicher, Meta’s head of security, on Wednesday tweeted that the video had been removed from the company’s platforms.
“Earlier today, our teams identified and removed a deepfake video claiming to show President Zelensky issuing a statement he never did. It appeared on a reportedly compromised website and then started showing across the internet,” Gleicher said.
Meanwhile, Zelensky also posted a video to his official Instagram account exposing the video.
“As for the latest childish provocation with advice to lay down arms, I only advise that the troops of the Russian Federation lay down their arms and return home. We are at home and defending Ukraine,” he said.
The Ukrainian government earlier this month issued a statement asking people to ignore videos of Zelensky online, especially if he announces a surrender to the Russian invasion.
“Videos made through such technologies are almost impossible to distinguish from the real ones. Be aware – this is fake! His goal is to disorient, sow panic, disbelieve citizens and incite our troops to retreat,” the statement said.
Russia on Monday blocked Meta-owned Instagram for nearly 80 million users in the country, after its parent company allowed posts with calls for violence against Russian soldiers and President Vladimir Putin on Facebook and Instagram in some countries.
The social media platform was inaccessible for the vast majority of the country’s population, according to internet monitoring service GlobalCheck.
Russian influencers on Instagram posted farewell messages to their followers, asking them to follow them on other social media platforms, or download VPN (virtual private network) software to bypass the ban.
Instagram has also provided a platform for Russians to speak out against the war, including wealthy oligarchs and their families.