Deepfake audio used to claim Indian news anchor, politicians endorsed 'miracle' diabetes cure

By: Annet Preethi Furtado
May 9 2024

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Deepfake audio used to claim Indian news anchor, politicians endorsed 'miracle' diabetes cure

This image shows a screenshot of the Facebook post with a video that shows news anchors and politicians promoting a medicine that can cure diabetes.


The Verdict Fake

Deepfake audio was superimposed on these videos. In the original clips, the individuals were not advocating for any diabetes treatment medication.

Claim ID 55a9c950

What's the claim?

Social media users are circulating manipulated videos featuring prominent figures such as actors, politicians, and news anchors. These videos falsely claim these figures are endorsing a cure for diabetes. One video on Facebook prominently displays the logo of the Hindi-language news channel Aaj Tak. It is accompanied by Hindi text that translates to "You will be surprised to see this; diabetes will never bother you again," and is presented under the heading "BREAKING NEWS."

The video, a compilation of several clips, lasts over two minutes. The first clip, up to the 34-second mark, features the President of India, Droupadi Murmu, addressing Parliament. The overlaid audio claims that medicines supposedly cured her diabetes within two weeks and urges diabetes patients to click on a provided link.

From the 35-second mark onwards, Aaj Tak anchor Anjana Om Kashyap discusses a medicine allegedly discovered by a young scientist named 'Avinash Mishra.' She encourages viewers to visit a website to purchase medicines claimed to cure diabetes. Subsequently, snippets from two different interviews with the same person, supposedly Mishra, are shown, one of which urges users to click on the provided link.

The video's final segment, starting at 1 minute and 40 seconds, features Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in an interview with two Aaj Tak anchors, seemingly endorsing the diabetes-related medicines.

The post includes a Hindi caption translated as: "A great scientist has created an innovative drug that eliminates diabetes at the cellular level. The drug can end in no time. Visit the site quickly!" Additionally, there is a link provided, which reads: "ZENITHSCULPT SHOP," along with Hindi text translated as: "Thanks to this site, more than a million people in India have forgotten what diabetes is."

At the time of writing this story, the post had received over 1,000 likes and had been viewed by more than 100,000 viewers. An archive of the post can be found here.

Screenshot of the viral Facebook post. (Source: Facebook/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

What are the facts?

The audio of these clips has been manipulated using artificial intelligence (AI), and the original audio reveals that the individuals did not endorse any diabetes medication.

The first clip

A reverse image search on the keyframes of the first clip of the viral video, featuring President Murmu addressing Parliament, revealed that it was taken from her oath-taking ceremony in July 2022. A YouTube video (archived here) titled “President Droupadi Murmu's Address | Swearing-in-Ceremony of 15th President of India | 22 July 2022,” posted on Sansad TV’s YouTube channel in July 2022, contains visuals identical to those in the viral clip. Notably, her speech during this event does not include anything related to diabetes.

(Source: YouTube)

Clip of Anjana Om Kashyap

In the second clip of the video, Aaj Tak anchor Kashyap discusses a supposed discovery by a young scientist named Avinash Mishra, who allegedly found a natural remedy for curing diabetes. The clip includes images of a patient in what appears to be a hospital setting, with Uttar Pradesh CM Adityanath appearing in one picture and the alleged Dr. Mishra seen with the patient in another. In the clip, Kashyap urges viewers to visit the provided website to order diabetes-curing medicines.

While we were unable to locate the original source of this video, we observed that Kashyap's lip movements do not synchronize with the accompanying audio. We also noted that the audio sounded deceptively like Kashyap’s voice.

Commenting on this clip, forensic expert Tanmay Srivastava agreed that the lip sync is a discrepancy, adding, "She usually speaks on the news channel, and there is no noise. News channels properly record voices in a controlled environment. But in this one, we can see the voice getting glitched at some places."

We contacted the Deepfakes Analysis Unit (DAU), a specialized team of the Misinformation Combat Alliance (MCA) of which Logically Facts is a part, for more information on the video. The team ran the Om Kashyap clip through several deepfake detection tools, all of which indicated that the probability of the audio being real was low.

Clip of ‘Dr. Avinash Mishra’ 

Through a reverse image search, we discovered that the first video, which supposedly features ‘Dr. Mishra,’ actually showcases Dr. Atul Gawande. Dr. Gawande is a professor and surgeon affiliated with the Harvard School of Public Health. This initial video of Dr. Gawande was shared by BBC Radio 4 (archived here) on December 1, 2014, and it presents him discussing the role of clinicians. Importantly, there is no reference to diabetes or its treatment in this video.

Source: YouTube

Likewise, the second video featuring Dr. Gawande originates from a CNBC interview broadcasted on March 2, 2021. In this interview, he addressed the ongoing risks of COVID-19 transmission in public areas. Notably, neither of these videos contains any reference to diabetes or its associated medications.

Screenshot from CNBC's interview of Dr. Atul Gaikwad, shared on March 2, 2021. (Source: CNBC)

The two images in the video

Interposed between the clips of Dr. Gawande and Kashyap are two photographs depicting hospitalized patients.

One of these images dates back to July 4, 2021, when the former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Kalyan Singh, was hospitalized in Lucknow. The current Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, had visited him.

The screenshot provides a comparison of the image from Kalyan Singh's hospital admission in Lucknow, as depicted in the viral clip and the NDTV report. (Source: Facebook/Instagram/Modified by Logically Facts)

Conversely, the second image in the viral video, purportedly showing Dr. Gawande, was initially posted on Instagram by a user claiming to be a doctor named Rohan Khandelwal (archived here) on April 21, 2021. The user stated that the image depicted him with a patient post-surgery.

The original image features Khandelwal wearing a mask, which has been digitally altered to display Dr. Gawande’s face. We also located the same photo of Khandelwal, a breast cancer surgeon, on LinkedIn. According to the provided information, this image was captured following the surgery of a 90-year-old woman amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The screenshot shows a comparison of the altered image featuring Dr. Gawande's face alongside the authentic image posted by Rohan Khandelwal. (Source: Facebook/Instagram/Modified by Logically Facts)

Clip of Yogi Adityanath

The video concludes with a depiction of Adityanath, asserting that this medicine has treated one crore 14 lakh diabetic individuals in India. However, this video segment is also doctored. The original footage stems from Adityanath's exclusive interview with "Aaj Tak" (archived here) on January 16, 2024. Importantly, there is no reference to diabetes in this interview.

(Source: YouTube)

How was the video made?

We observed that the audio endorsing the diabetes cure closely resembles the authentic voices of the individuals featured. However, there were no indications of manipulation in the videos themselves, suggesting that only the audio was deepfaked and superimposed on the video clips.

Srivastava, commenting on the entire clip, stated that the audio was manipulated using AI. He specifically pointed out the use of Retrieval-based Voice Conversion (RVC AI). He elaborated that RVC AI is used to mimic someone's voice in real-time, stating, "You essentially speak in your voice, and RVC will transform it to sound like anyone you desire. You simply need to train the AI with multiple audio clips of a person."

We noticed that the link at the bottom of the Facebook post redirects to a Hindi-language blog on Medanta's website, a super-specialty healthcare hospital in India. The blog discusses the risks of bypass surgery for diabetes patients. Logically Facts has contacted Medanta for a comment, and this story will be updated upon receiving a response.

The verdict

The audio in the videos featuring President Murmu, Aaj Tak anchor Anjana Om Kashyap, and Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath discussing a supposed diabetes cure has been manipulated using artificial intelligence. Deepfake audio has been superimposed on these clips.

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