June 20, 2024

Deepfake: influencer from Ukraine slams generators of AI clones which turned her Russian to sell goods on Chinese social media

Deepfake: influencer from Ukraine slams generators of AI clones which turned her Russian to sell goods on Chinese social media

Deepfake: influencer from Ukraine slams generators of AI clones which turned her Russian to sell goods on Chinese social media

By Alice Yan
29 February 2024

A Ukrainian YouTuber says her face and voice have been cloned using artificial intelligence (AI) technology to present her as a Russian person to sell products on a prominent social media platform in China.

The different virtual versions of Olga Loiek are marked as Russian on Xiaohongshu, with most of them claiming she lives in China.

The fake depiction has angered the woman because her homeland is at war with Russia.

At the beginning of February, Loiek released a video on YouTube saying she had received a message from someone telling her that her photos and videos had been stolen and were being used on Xiaohongshu, China’s Instagram.

With the help of the person who informed her, Loiek found dozens of social media accounts using her image that she had not been aware of.

Each account had accumulated between 1,000 and 150,000 fans.

Their contents are similar and show the cloned Loiek speaking fluent Mandarin, singing China’s praises and celebrating its good ties with Russia.

Loiek said she does not speak Mandarin.

“I love China. I love Chinese culture. I hope to live in China for the rest of my life,” a fake Loiek said in Mandarin in one of the videos.

Another video talks about marriage customs in Russia and another says Chinese men are the best boyfriends for Russian women.

One account, @Natasha Imported Food, shows a fake Loiek says in Mandarin: “While everyone else is moving away from Russia, only China is being quietly supportive. China and Russia are good neighbours. The China-Russia friendship will last forever.”

This account advertises Russian confectionery and displays product links.

“It’s kind of crazy, because I haven’t even made one dollar from YouTube at the moment, but she is using my face to make a profit, which is very funny to me,” Loiek said in her YouTube video.

After browsing hundreds of the accounts, she said: “The main narrative behind these clones is to strengthen the relationship between the two countries, presenting me or my clone as a Russian POV.

“As a Ukrainian, this has obviously been infuriating for me. After all, my family has to hide during air raids in Ukraine, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow Ukrainians are getting displaced, injured, or killed because of Russian attacks.

“Now I am seeing the copy of myself, my clone, advocating and sympathising with the Russian Federation,” Loiek said.

She said she does not know who is behind the accounts nor the reason they have chosen her face to generate content, adding that no one has contacted her to seek her permission.

The “face-changing” technology, known as deepfake in the AI industry, has caused controversy on the mainland for its wide array of applications in e-commerce.

Last year, a China clothes brand came under fire for using the technology to change the face of a salesperson during a live-streaming session with the Chinese actress and singer Yang Mi.

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South China Morning Post