Conspiracy Theorists Think Joe Biden Sang ‘Baby Shark’ on TV

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One Dumb Conspiracy

Analysis

Conspiracy theorists have become enraged at President Joe Biden after seeing him sing the viral children’s song “Baby Shark.” But the video they’re watching is a deepfake.

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The footage, which has been spreading across social media, was met with laughter by many users who were aware of the joke. Others, however, appeared convinced that the video was legitimate and expressed their outrage online.

“Joe dementia Biden really started singing baby shark on stage… in front of the whole world… this is embarrassing,” one user on Twitter wrote.

The video also spread rapidly on Instagram and TikTok, where some users similarly fell for the fabricated clip.

Yet clues revealing the video to be fake were more than apparent. For starters, a news chyron featured on the video claims to originate from the satirical media website “The Onion.”

But no such article or video featuring Biden singing Baby Shark was ever on their website. So what gives?

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It turns out the video was originally published to YouTube by a channel known as Synthetic Voices. The creator, a U.K. resident named Ali Al-Rikabi, used artificial intelligence to not only create a synthetic version of Biden’s voice but to make him appear as if he was singing

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The video was made using actual footage of Biden giving a speech at Irvine Valley Community College in Irvine, California, on October 14, which was broadcasted on C-SPAN at the time.

In comments to the Daily Dot, Al-Rikabi stated that he purposely put the fake Onion chyron on his video in order to make it obvious that it wasn’t real. Even so, Al-Rikabi said he wasn’t at all surprised that some people still believed the video was real.

“I read most of my comments when I can and a lot of people ask if this is real or not. Some just outright accept it as a reality,” he said. “I think that it is a testimony to how far technology in this field has developed. A lot of people are not really familiar with deepfakes I guess. But that’s why I leave clues such as the Onion logo.”

Why it matters

Despite ample evidence that the video was fake, conspiracy theorists still believed that what they were seeing was real.

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And although the deepfake creator went out of his way to make it obvious that his footage was satirical, even that wasn’t enough for some users online.

The Biden Baby Shark deepfake video shows how conspiracy theories can still flourish no matter how obviously false they may appear to others.

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*First Published: Oct 25, 2022, 6:00 am CDT

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Mikael Thalen

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Mikael Thalen is a tech and security reporter based in Seattle, covering social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.



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