Footage of Nigel Farage blowing up Rishi Sunak's Minecraft mansion 'not real'

Hats off to The Guardian for double checking, though

British democracy hangs in the balance after internet mischief makers published a deepfake of Reform UK leader Nigel Farage griefing prime minister Rishi Sunak's Minecraft server.

Youtube Video

As above, Farage is presented as livestreaming Minecraft to an active chat, explaining that he's joined Sunak's server "while he was offline just to have a bit of fun and mess with him."

"I've actually stumbled upon his house so naturally I filled it to the brim with TNT and for everyone's information there were absolutely no traces of Sky TV services in or around the house."

He then finds a signpost outside that reads: "Nigel, if this is you do not grief my house." Griefing in online gaming is activity designed to intentionally irritate other players, much like how Reform behaves in meatspace.

"It's too late for that my friend," Farage says, then levels the structure with dynamite. "And just for good measure I'm going to blame it on Keir." That's Starmer, by the way, leader of the Labour Party and highly likely to be the next prime minister, for those fortunate enough not to live in Britain (which heads to the polls on July 4).

Ever the public servant, The Guardian went straight to Reform to confirm the veracity of the 40-second clip.

A mildly exasperated spokesperson for Farage confirmed that the video was "of course" not real and the Reform party leader had not been spending the campaign livestreaming Minecraft commentary.

"Quite funny though," the spokesperson added.

The newspaper even went as far as breaking down the video by frame, pointing to a moment where "the pixels around Nigel Farage's face appear warped."

Wow, now there we were thinking that the right-wing bampot and Sunak, a man who appears to have based his entire personality on Will from The Inbetweeners, know what Minecraft is, let alone have their own private servers.

While deepfakes are widely believed to pose a threat to democracy by influencing social media users with fabricated propaganda, with the internet being the internet, they are mostly the basis for humorous content – like this vid of US pres Joe Biden, Repub candidate Donald Trump, and former pres Barack Obama arguing during a Grand Theft Auto Online session. Again, although the audio is somewhat convincing, it's hard to believe that any of the statesmen game together on a regular basis.

Ciaran Martin, former head of the UK's National Cyber Security Centre, wrote last week that "it has proved remarkably hard to fool huge swathes of voters with deepfakes" due mainly to their poor quality and implausible context. Even so, Microsoft has been toying with one deepfake AI, VASA–1, which it believes to be too dangerous for public release.

The solution to the scourge of deepfakes is pretty simple – don't believe anything you see or hear on social media. Better yet, don't use it. ®

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