A new deepfake with Maia Sandu on social networks. Statements by the Presidency

The Presidency of the Republic of Moldova urges citizens to be careful and not to be manipulated by fake information distributed on certain networks and channels. The recommendation comes in the context in which a new deepfake with president Maia Sandu appeared on a Telegram channel. This time, in this video, the so-called head of state congratulates Moldovans on New Year's Eve and urges citizens to vote for her in the next presidential elections. Throughout the video, the actress playing the role of Maia Sandu uses humorous accents.

"In the context of the hybrid war against Moldova and the democratic leadership, the image of the head of state is used by falsifying the image and sound. The purpose of these fake images is to cause mistrust and division in society, consequently to weaken the democratic institutions of Moldova. We draw the attention of the citizens to the fact that the information distributed in the public space, accompanied by photos or videos with the image of the first persons in the state, represents a fake and manipulation of the deep fake type", the statement reads.

Moreover, the Presidency denies the authenticity of the statements attributed to the head of state and condemns these disinformation practices.

"We urge all citizens to inform themselves only from official and reliable sources, and to verify information from other sources."

We remind you that, this November, a deepfake video clip with President Maia Sandu appeared on social networks, presented as news broadcast by Moldova 1. On Facebook, the post was run as an advertisement by the Moldova Friendly page, which paid for the advertisement for distribution Ilan Şor's messages.

In the picture, the presenter of the Mesager Elena Băncilă appears, introducing the public interest message of President Maia Sandu. A mock statement by President Sandu follows. The clip shows a woman filmed in reality, dressed in black and with her head covered, but her face has been replaced with Maia Sandu's and her voice, too.

The post is run as an advertisement by the Friendly Moldova page. This advertisement is paid for 2000-2500 euros and has been seen by over 1 million facebook and instagram users. The same page paid advertising to broadcast a clip with Ilan Sor - about 1000 euros.

Friendly Moldova was registered on May 2, 2023 under another name - Innovative IdeasExpress YourselfScience Fiction & Fantasy. This page is listed in the News website category. On September 24, 2023, its name was changed to Friendly Moldova.

The presidential administration asked Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, to remove the video clip from the networks.

"We are waiting for intervention as soon as possible. It is yet another proof of how dirty propaganda by a criminal group in the interest of a foreign state works to destabilize and to induce hatred in society." - declared for Moldova 1 TV the presidential advisor for public communication Irina Gotișan-Sotnic.

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