SUNDAY, April 21, 2024
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Fake compilation video featuring President Yoon goes viral

Fake compilation video featuring President Yoon goes viral

A fake compilation video featuring President Yoon Suk Yeol delivering a speech has spread rapidly on social media, prompting South Korea's independent media regulation agency to decide on Friday to remove the deceptive video from all social media channels.

The 46-second fabricated video shows Yoon saying “I, Yoon Suk Yeol, have been enforcing laws that harass our nation,” as well as “I ruined our country and made its people suffer by clinging onto an ideology that deviates from common sense.”

Since going viral, the video, titled “President Yoon’s Fictionalized Sincere Confession Speech,” has spread across several channels, including TikTok, Facebook and Instagram.

While the video was initially reported to be a deepfake video, it was later found to be fabricated from a TV speech that Yoon gave in February 2022 during the presidential elections.

The Korea Communications Standards Commission came to a unanimous decision to remove and block the video at a subcommittee meeting on Friday after police requested it be deleted and blocked.

The KCSC explained that the video was “likely to mislead the public into thinking that the president had made the relevant remarks.” The KCSC plans to issue formal requests to Instagram, Facebook and TikTok to delete the video.

Police have begun an additional investigation into whether the video creator could be charged with defamation by false information and whether the video could be considered a violation of the Public Official Election Act. Violators of the law could be subject to up to seven years in prison or fines of up to 50 million won ($38,000).

Yoon's office on Friday emphasized the critical need to eradicate the deceptive video, expressing deep concerns about its widespread circulation, especially with legislative elections looming in less than two months.

"Even if the viral video of President Yoon is labelled as fake, it should still be eradicated, as edited versions of the video without the label are widely being spread across social media,” presidential office spokesperson Kim Soo-Kyung said in a press briefing Friday.

"Furthermore, the presidential office will take strong actions against such false and manipulative videos in the future.”

With the upcoming general election in April, the National Election Commission has been screening for fake videos on social media and online community platforms, since revising the Public Official Election Act in December to ban the use of fake content, including videos and images in election campaigns. This is intended to prevent forged content from posing a threat to election integrity, as such content has become easy to make and circulate due to quickly evolving AI technologies.

Meanwhile, the NEC said that as of Tuesday it had identified as many as 129 fake videos in violation of the Public Official Election Act from Jan. 29 to Feb. 20.

Lee Jung-joo

The Korea Herald

Asia News Network

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