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Video Manipulation

From deepfakes to using old videos out of context or digital manipulation techniques, etc. Video manipulation occurs as often as the manipulation of photos. However, exposing fake videos is much more difficult and time-consuming.Here are some tips to help you bust a fake video:

Various technologies and techniques have been used to manipulate and mislead with videos in the last decade. Video content is facing increased scrutiny as media manipulators take advantage of everyday tools available as well as sophisticated Artificial Intelligence-based software (“deep fakes“) to create duplicitous content. 

The following techniques are often used to create fake news with videos:

  • Building a completely fake video
  • Using old videos to illustrate new events
  • Placing a video — or part of it — in another context
  • Deepfakes
  • Digital manipulation of real videos

 Let’s look at one of these techniques in a recent example by the Pro-Kremlin fake news machine:


A video claiming to show Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with cocaine on his desk during a video call with billionaire Elon Musk went viral in spring 2022, but was this video real or fake? 

The video was shared from numerous Russian-language sites and blogs, and on Telegram, in late April. It showed Zelenskyy speaking to the Tesla CEO and one other person over video chat. Next to the Ukrainian president’s hand, which was placed on the desk, was a pile of white powder and what appeared to be a credit card. One headline (translated from Google) stated, “Zelensky Caught Again With Cocaine On The Table.”

The digitally manipulated footage was created by using a genuine video of Zelenskyy in a video call with the pair. That authentic footage was posted to Zelenskyy’s Instagram account in March 2022 as you can see below.

Many people online compared that authentic footage with the edited version, pointing out the discrepancy.

The Associated Press also pointed out the differences, saying, in the edited video, the credit card did not look 3-dimensional and the reflection from the light on the desk was still visible through the card as the camera moved over it.


  • First, watch the video and look for discrepancies: inaccurate gluing, distorted proportions or strange moments.
  • Look at details: shadows, reflections and the sharpness of different elements. A country and a city where a picture was taken can be identified by car numbers, store signs and street names. If there are unusual buildings in the photo, look at them in the Street View mode of Google maps.
  • Check out the weather for the specific time and place using the archives of weather forecasting websites. If it was raining all day there but the sun is shining in the video, it’s not trustworthy.

Also you can check out CNN’s Is that video real tips to spot fake audio and videos. 

Detecting Deep Fakes with Technology

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