Facebook removed a deepfake video of Zelensky

The company banned deepfakes in 2020.

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Facebook’s policy banning deepfakes was the latest to be put to the test amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On Wednesday, the company confirmed it has removed a video that purportedly showed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but was actually a shoddy deepfake.

“Earlier today, our teams identified and removed a deepfake video claiming to show President Zelensky issuing a statement he never did,” Meta’s head of Security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher said in a statement. “It appeared on a reportedly compromised website and then started showing across the internet.” He said the company pulled the video in line with its “manipulated media” policy, which has banned the use of deepfakes for more than two years.

Fact-checking website Snopes reported that the video, which it described as “poorly done,” also aired on a Ukrainian TV station that was reportedly hacked. The site also noted that there were obvious signs that the footage was fake, like the fact that Zelensky’s head didn’t “seem to quite fit on his neck.” Zelensky himself also debunked the video on his Instagram account.