The creator of the viral Tom Cruise deepfake has warned people to “think twice” about what they see online.
Last month, the TikTok account @deeptomcruise began sharing clips of what appeared to be the Mission Impossible actor speaking directly to the camera – telling fans in one post
about an encounter with former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
Launched by visual effects artist Chris Ume, the social media channel has since racked up over 584,000 followers. Its five videos have collectively been viewed 1.7 million times.
In a recent interview with Sky News, Ume explained that he enjoys creating “funny content” but acknowledges the potential harm that deepfakes could pose in the future in terms of news coverage.
“The tech is evolving rapidly and will get better and will become more accessible as time goes on,” he said, adding that there will “always” be people who “misuse” the technique.
“Twenty years ago you have Photoshop, you didn’t know about fake photos so they started editing photos, and now people realise – like photos – that videos can be misleading.
“So it’s important on my side to create awareness so people start thinking twice when they see similar videos.”
He continued: “In a year from now people need to question what they’re looking at and it’s important for journalists to confirm their sources and where they got it.”
Ume creates the videos with actor and impersonator Miles Fisher (Mad Men, 2 Broke Girls), who takes on the role of Cruise.
The sequel, directed by Christopher McQuarrie, is currently due to be released on November 19, 2021.