This war correspondent does not exist

Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine has been accompanied by widespread interest in real-time news and information on the conflict, and an explosion of Ukraine-themed “news” accounts on social media have emerged, purportedly to provide coverage. Healthy skepticism of accounts of this sort is warranted, however, as many are not as they seem. One popular tactic: creating a “journalist” by renaming an old Twitter account, slapping an artificially generated or stolen/stock photo on it, and tweeting plagiarized content or outright falsehoods as “breaking news”. Here are three examples of “journalist” accounts made in this manner, all of which use GAN-generated faces. (GAN = “generative adversarial network”, the machine learning technology behind tools like and of @BethBoykins22’s Twitter profile, taken March 1st, 2022In March 2022, a supposedly Ukraine-based Twitter “journalist” by the name of @BethBoykins22 with a GAN-generated face started tweeting out news about the war in Ukraine, usually with accompanying videos. None of @BethBoykins22’s “reporting” was original, however — both the videos and the tweet text were copied verbatim from a mix of public figures such as Alexander Vindman and random “breaking news” Twitter accounts (some of which likely also plagiarized the content). war reporting is so much less dangerous when you copy and pastethe account name can change, but the ID remains the sameEvery account on Twitter has a permanent numeric account ID that remains constant even if the account’s handle, display name, or biography is changed. This can be used to confirm suspected handle changes. In the…This war correspondent does not exist

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