Like we said when we shared those Tom Cruise deepfakes the other week, it was only a matter of time before this technology was used and abused by common folk to sabotage one another, and this story out of a Pennsylvania may be the first example of that.
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Raffaela Spone, 50, who hails from the town of Chalfront, has been arrested and charged with harassment and cyber harassment charges after allegedly creating fake photos of girls on her daughter’s cheerleading team.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Spone is accused of creating ‘deepfake’ photos and videos showing three members of the Victory Vipers cheer squad ‘naked, drinking and smoking’. Apparently the girls had fallen out with her daughter and Spone wanted to boot them off the cheerleading squad.
Spone allegedly created the deepfakes by ‘mapping the victims’ social media photos onto other images’ in a bid to make them look real. The mum is then accused of anonymously sending the graphic pictures and videos to the coaches of the cheerleading team.
She also allegedly sent the doctored images directly to the teenage girls, along with message to one of them urging her to ‘kill herself’. Yikes.
Detectives traced four phone numbers that had sent the deepfake images and tied them all to a telemarketing website. They then traced data from that website to an IP address at Spone’s house.
Police say a subsequent search of Spone’s phone uncovered the text messages and deepfake images that she had sent to the three victims and the team’s coaches. Well and truly busted.
So yeah, clearly it’s not just big tech companies, political parties and media groups we need to worry about when it comes to deepfake technology, but also everyday people looking to screw each other over. Raffaela Spone may be the first person to use deepfake CGI to help out her child/sabotage her child’s enemies, but you can bet she won’t be the last. She may have even got away with it if she wasn’t so terrible at covering her tracks and basically leading the police right to her.
Makes you wonder whether deepfakes are already everywhere and the recent news about them is just trying to ease us into our new reality? Who knows. As psychotic as what Raffaela Spone did though – you do have to give her some credit. She’s a ride or die mum who clearly loves her daughter. Maybe look into using a VPN next time though if you want to get away with it. Trick of the trade.
For more shockingly realistic Deepfakes, get a load of Keanu Reeves as ‘Scarface’. Will we even need actors to show up to work anymore?