On 26 November 2019, WITNESS and the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, hosted an expert meeting in Pretoria, South Africa. The workshop was on the emerging threats posed by deepfakes and other forms of AI-enabled synthetic media.

Deepfakes make it easier to create video and audio forgeries that make someone look like they said or did something they never did. To learn more about WITNESS’ leading work in this area visit wit.to/Synthetic-Media-Deepfakes.

The event was the first-of-its-kind convened in Africa and brought together experts, community activists, academics and media practitioners from across Africa who are working on issues of disinformation, artificial intelligence, journalism and human rights. The meeting was held under Chatham House Rules with contributions not attributed to any specific participant.


No #facetheft photo from the first-ever African deepfakes preparedness meeting

The aim was to explore the potentially negative impact deepfakes can have on society, human rights, journalism and vulnerable communities, and solutions were prioritised. This event in South Africa is key to ongoing global conversations around how best to prepare for a dangerous future where deepfakes will not only make it easier for video and audio to be manipulated but can significantly harm individuals, influence elections and spark conflicts.

A report will be released following the workshop that details some of the key findings during the deliberations and the recommendations of how global solutions should reflect South African realities. 

Video recap of the workshop



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