From Fake News to Deep Fakes

On the Threat of Deep Fakes to Democracy and Society

During recent years, the influence of fake-news and the manipulation of public and political perception through information and propaganda operations by non-state actors, such as terrorist and extremist groups as well as state actors has increasingly been discussed as a threat to political systems and various measures to counter this threat have been proposed.


A crucial aspect in this regard are the fundamental technical advances made in the field of news production and the ability to use these for nefarious purposes. Currently, significant technical capabilities and skills to produce deep fakes – seemingly real synthesized videos of any kind of content – are no longer necessary and the technology is increasingly available to an ever-growing audience. This transfers the ability from technical specialists to a wider range of actors and therefore increases the risk that nefarious state and non-state actors will misuse this technology to attack societal and political cohesion. For state-actors, the decreasing costs and increasing speed with which deep-fakes can be produced allows a much wider use of this technology as a political weapon.


Prof. Dr. Hany Farid, Senior Advisor to the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), is a global leader in forensic technology and the leading authority on the detection of deep fakes. Prof. Farid also works as an advisor on digital forensics to several governments around the globe and has worked on several high-profile cases in the past. As part of a cooperation between CEP and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, he is currently writing a comprehensive report on the topic, explaining the technology and its implications in the political context. During today’s event Prof. Farid will present the current technical developments concerning the production as well as potential technical opportunities for the detection of deep fakes and aims to gather and discuss policy recommendations from experts in the policy field, which will become part of the report.


17:00 Welcoming Words

Nils Wörmer |Head of Team, Foreign, Security and European Affairs, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung
Dr. Hans-Jakob Schindler |Senior Director, Counter Extremism Project

17:15 Keynote and Introduction of the Study

Prof. Hany Farid | Senior Advisor, Counter Extremism Project
On the advanced technology of deep fakes and how to detect them

18:00 Keynote

Prof. Dr. Sensburg | Member of the German Parliament (tbc)
On the threat of deep fakes to democracy and society

18:15 Moderated Discussion

Nauel Semaan | Foreign, Security and European Affairs, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung

19:45 Reception

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Akademie der Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V.
Tiergartenstraße 35,
10785 Berlin



Nauel Semaan

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Referentin Terrorismusbekämpfung +49 30 26996-3879