BJP shared deepfake video during Delhi elections: report

February 20, 2020

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One of the videos of Bharat Janatya Party (BJP) leader Manoj Tiwari that went viral earlier this month during the Delhi elections has turned out to be fake. — Photo courtesy The Indian Express/File
One of the videos of Bharat Janatya Party (BJP) leader Manoj Tiwari that went viral earlier this month during the Delhi elections has turned out to be fake. — Photo courtesy The Indian Express/File

One of the videos of Bharat Janatya Party (BJP) leader Manoj Tiwari that went viral earlier this month during the Delhi elections is deepfake, reported online publication Vice.

Deepfake videos use a form of artificial intelligence called deep learning to create fake images of people and events.

One of the videos had Tiwari speaking in English while the other one showed him using the same facial expressions and gestures but speaking in Haryanvi. An analysis of the two 44-second videos by Vice on Tuesday showed that the Haryanvi video is fake.

Neelkant Bakshi, co-incharge of social media and IT for BJP Delhi, told Vice that the BJP IT cell had partnered with Chandigarh-based political communications firm The Ideaz Factory to create "positive campaigns using deepfakes to reach different linguistic voter bases.

"The Haryanvi videos let us convincingly approach the target audience even if the candidate didn’t speak the language of the voter."

The Haryanvi video was aimed primarily at Haryanvi-speaking migrant workers in Delhi to dissuade them from voting for Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), according to Vice.

Bakshi added that the videos were distributed across 5,800 WhatsApp groups in Delhi and the National Capital Region, reaching approximately 15 million people.

However, the efforts were not successful as Kejriwal's AAP won 62 out of 70 seats in the legislative elections held in Delhi on February 8.