On Jan. 8, 2021, Twitter permanently suspended the account of then-President Donald Trump following the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C.
Twitter said they suspended Trump’s account in order to prevent the “risk of further incitement of violence.”
Now, new Twitter CEO Elon Musk – who bought the social media company in October – has reinstated the account.
Following the reinstatement, a video circulated on TikTok that claims to show Musk saying “the king is back” and that he fired “crybaby” employees of Twitter by using manipulated videos of Trump.
Is the viral video of Elon Musk real?
No, the video is not real, it’s a deepfake.
WHAT WE FOUND
Deepfake videos, like this clip of Musk, are made using artificial intelligence technologies, like programs that can be used to replace or synthesize faces, speech or expressions of emotions.
This viral video was created using existing video from a TED interview Musk did in April, prior to his purchase of Twitter. TED, short for “Technology, Entertainment, Design,” is a nonprofit organization that shares interviews or speaking engagements with the mission of sharing ideas.
The video was posted to the TED YouTube channel on April 14, 2022, and shows an interview between TED curator Chris Anderson and Musk. During the interview, Musk talked about his bid to purchase Twitter and other aspects of his career.
Both the viral video and the TED interview video have the same purple background. Musk is also wearing the same outfit in both and his hair is styled the same way.
The audio heard in the video – Musk’s supposed voice – is also out of sync with his mouth and his facial features don’t align as he speaks. These are common signs of deepfakes.
Since reinstating Trump to Twitter on Nov. 20, Musk has not given any on-camera interviews or participated in any recorded events.
The TikTok account that posted the video has posted a number of other deepfake videos of Musk using the same source video from the TED interview.
VERIFY reached out to Musk and the TikTok creator for comment but did not hear back at the time of publication.