PM Lee Hsien Loong warns public of deepfake crypto-trading promotional video featuring him in CGTN interview

Singapore's Prime Minister expresses concerns over drawbacks of AI and spread of misinformation, urges vigilance from the public

Screen grab of deepfake video of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong promoting an investment platform (Photo: Facebook/Lee Hsien Loong)
Screen grab of deepfake video of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong promoting an investment platform (Photo: Facebook/Lee Hsien Loong)

SINGAPORE — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is urging the public not to be taken in by a deepfake video online which purportedly showed him promoting an investment platform.

In a post on his Facebook page on Friday (29 December), PM Lee uploaded a 14-second video snippet which supposedly showed him in an interview with a presenter from Chinese news network CGTN, as both parties discuss an investment opportunity allegedly approved by the government.

PM Lee is seen talking about the benefits of a "hands free crypto trading" platform, which is able to "compute algorithms, analyse market trends, make strategic investment decisions, and execute trades; all without any manual input from the user."

"‘Tis the season for scams!" PM Lee wrote in his Facebook post. "Recently, there have been a number of audio deepfake videos of me purporting to promote crypto scams. DPM Lawrence Wong has also been targeted!

"The scammers use AI technology to mimic our voices and images. They transform real footage of us taken from official events into very convincing but completely bogus videos of us purporting to say things that we have never said.

"If you see or receive these scam videos promising guaranteed returns on investments or ‘giveaways’, please do not respond to them."

Deepfakes are generated using artificial intelligence to modify or manipulate visual and audio content. The altered video snippet appears to have been manipulated from an actual interview conducted by CGTN with Lee back in March.

PM Lee urges vigilance against deepfake technology

According to CNA, the full deepfake video shows PM Lee claiming that the investment platform is "revolutionary" and "designed by Elon Musk". It ends with the presenter urging viewers to click on a link to register for the platform, to earn "passive income".

PM Lee has warned the public against responding to the video. He also reminded Singaporeans to remain vigilant as the use of deepfake technology to spread disinformation will continue to grow.

"We must learn to protect ourselves and our loved ones against such scams. Thanks to alert Singaporeans who took the time to flag this to me," said Lee.

In July, CNA reported that fake online advertisements of PM Lee selling investment opportunities had surfaced. Earlier this month, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong also took to Facebook to address fake posts of him endorsing commercial products.

The public is encouraged to report scams, fake news or advertisements via the official ScamShield Bot on WhatsApp. Official Prime Minister's Office (PMO) videos can be found on its Youtube channel.

Here are some tips to spot fake AI generated content.

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