Annie's Chronicles

Decoding Deepfakes: Protection against your Digital Doppelgänger

Deepfake refers to a technology that can replicate a person’s appearance in video format using just a single photograph, thanks to advancements in AI and deep learning. This term encompasses manipulated content, including images, audio, or videos. Deepfakes utilise machine learning, leveraging existing photos or videos of an individual online for realistic content creation. The most common technique, as highlighted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is face-swapping.

Apps like Snapchat, FaceShifter, FaceSwap, DeepFace Lab, Reface, and TikTok have made deepfake technology accessible to anyone, allowing real-time generation of various image and video manipulations using Deep Neural Network technology.

However, this technological advancement has dark implications, leading to instances of privacy, identity theft, misinformation, and non-consensual image abuse. Even if you don’t directly engage with generative AI platforms, your personal data available on social media can be used to create your digital Doppelgänger.

Proactive tips and tricks to safeguard against potential deepfake threats

  • Share with Care:
    Exercise caution when sharing personal information online. Limit the exposure of high-quality photos and videos that could be used for deepfake creation. Adjust social media privacy settings to control who can view your content and only connect with trusted individuals.
  • Enable Strong Privacy Settings:
    Utilise robust privacy settings on websites to control access to personal information. Restrict the visibility of sensitive data, including photos and videos, and minimise publicly available material to limit resources for potential deepfake creators.
  • Watermark Photos:
    Add digital watermarks to images or videos shared online to deter deepfake creators and make their efforts more traceable.
  • Learn About Deepfakes and AI:
    Stay informed about the latest developments in AI and deepfake technology. Awareness helps in recognising potential red flags when encountering suspicious content.
  • Use Multi-Factor Authentication:
    Implement multi-factor authentication for additional security layers, such as facial scans, texted codes, or standalone apps, reducing the risk of unauthorised access to your accounts.
  • Use Strong Passwords:
    Employ long, strong, and unique passwords for all accounts. Store them in a password manager with multi-factor authentication to enhance security.
  • Stay Updated, Stay Secure:
    Regularly update devices and software to address security vulnerabilities. Enable automatic updates to ensure timely patches against potential exploits.
  • Avoid Phishing Attempts:
    Exercise caution with unknown emails, messages, or calls, especially those urging immediate action. Verify the sender’s identity, avoid clicking on suspicious links, and think before engaging.


What victims of non-consensual imagery can do

  • Document the abuse:
    While there are limited laws in place to protect victims of non-consensual image abuse, it’s essential to document everything. Take screenshots of the images and any filed takedown requests. If this experience is too painful, consider seeking assistance from a trusted friend or family member.
  • File takedown requests:
    Many messaging and social media platforms have community guidelines for reporting such images. For instance, Meta partnered with in 2021 to curb the sharing of non-consensual images online. If there is a minor involved, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children can assist with takedown requests through its Take it Down initiative.
  • Legal Eagles to the Rescue:
    In some cases, websites may not respond to takedown requests without legal action. Depending on the country, you may need to contact intellectual property or copyright lawyers who can advocate on your behalf. If funds are an issue, various civic groups, such as DeepTrust Alliance, and Cyber Civil Rights Initiative can assist.


The rapid advancement of AI, particularly in the form of deepfake technology, has ushered in both creative possibilities and serious ethical concerns. As individuals, it’s crucial to be vigilant about protecting our digital identities and take proactive steps in response to potential misuse of our images. Non-consensual image abuse is an unfortunate reality, but by documenting incidents, filing takedown requests, seeking legal advice when necessary, and enlisting the support of digital reputation management firms, victims can take concrete actions to reclaim control over their online presence. While technology evolves, our commitment to safeguarding personal integrity and privacy remains paramount in navigating the ever-changing landscape of the digital age.