Did Bella Hadid voice support for Israel in a speech?

The clip below of Palestinian-American model Bella Hadid (who has voiced support for Palestinian issues in the past) has been widely circulated recently; likely sparked by her recent Instagram post calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.In the clip, Hadid appears to be voicing support for Israel in a speech and apologising for her “past remarks.” This video has been seen by millions, with Pro-Israel accounts on social media claiming that Hadid has changed her views.

However, this is a deepfake video made using an old award acceptance speech Hadid gave in 2016 as its base. The original clip can be found in full on YouTube with its original context and identical background, with Hadid wearing the same clothing and jewellery.Deepfake technology uses generative AI to manipulate likenesses digitally. Since its inception, the technology has only become more and more sophisticated, with deepfake video technology in particular becoming less easily identifiable. Further, this technology has, in recent years become accessible to the general public, with websites and apps offering tools to create videos and images online without much specialist knowledge.

The deepfake above replicates Hadid’s voice and mouth movements and, on first watch, appears passable as a real video. Hadid has been vocal about her support for Palestinian and about her own Palestinian heritage dating back several years. This deepfake video is an extreme alteration of her likeness and voice to imply regret or admission that her views are “mistakes,” thereby spreading disinformation and confusion.

Bella Hadid, therefore, has not declared support for Israel in a speech – the video being shared as proof of this claim has been manipulated using AI deepfake technology.

The clip was made by an Israeli musician and voice-over artist, who manipulated the video and audio to “put some truth in her mouth.” The same individual has continued to make other deepfake videos, such as this clip of Queen Rania of Jordon posted recently. Her words have similarly been manipulated to voice support for Israel when, in reality, Jordon and Queen Rania have criticised Israeli military action in Gaza.The use of convincing Generative AI content is an ever-present and ever-increasing threat in the fake news landscape as the technology grows more sophisticated. In the context of the Israel-Hamas conflict, this can be seen in a range of instances – from AI-generated images to deepfake videos such as the one of Bella Hadid being used to sway opinion and provoke emotional reactions.

Alongside this fact-check, Black Dot Research has also taken a closer look at several other examples of Generative AI being used to spread mis/disinformation online.

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