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Be wary of Robert Pattinson imitations on TikTok

Deepfakes of the actor are multiplying on the platform

Be wary of Robert Pattinson imitations on TikTok  Deepfakes of the actor are multiplying on the platform

On TikTok you can find everything from videos showing the best hack for applying eyeliner to the tastiest and fastest recipes for cooking salmon, from the "get ready with me" category to celebrities improvising a choreography to the hit of the moment. Some of these are real, some are parodies, and some are something decidedly more complex and potentially dangerous. These are deepfakes, i.e., clips created thanks to artificial intelligence software from real content, or rather, to quote Wikipedia, "is an artificial intelligence-based human image synthesis technique used to combine and superimpose existing images and videos with original videos or images through a machine learning technique, known as a generative adversarial network." Simply put, you feel like you're watching Britney Spears putting on nail polish while humming an Aguilera song, but instead it's all fake, only you have to pay close attention (and sometimes you can't even) to notice. Recently these kinds of videos have been multiplying on TikTok, misleading so many because of their convincing nature. That's what also happened to Robert Pattinson with @unreal_robert, an account with 1.2 million followers that has been collecting a surreal archive of deepfakes of the actor since last spring. 

@unreal_robert #pattinson #shawarma #cooktok original sound - Unreal Robert Pattinson
@unreal_robert Clean the house — Play on the mop — #pattinson #productivity #vibe original sound - Unreal Robert Pattinson
@unreal_robert Can you guess all the movies? #robertpattinson #batman #twilight #edwardcullen original sound - Unreal Robert Pattinson
@unreal_robert Hey TikTok! Who is gonna teach me how to dance? #robertpattinson #robertpattinsonedit #pattinson #dance Sea Shanty Medley - Home Free

All of the clips show the Batman star engaged in everyday or absurd activities that, given how shy and reserved he is, he would probably never really share with the rest of the world: he eats a carrot, plays pots and pans as if they were the cymbals of a drum kit, jokes about his most famous film roles, makes himself a snack, cleans his house in stride, and other such things. In one video, for example, he wears a pair of black jeans with a gray V-neck T-shirt and, with his hands in his pockets and his eerie gaze fixed on the camera, dances awkwardly while in the caption he asks the viewer, "Hey TikTok! Who's gonna teach me how to dance?" Definitely bizarre considering that in one of his magazines he had stated that he had such a terrible fear of dancing in public that he had "one of the biggest panic attacks of my life" on the dance floor of a party. Pattinson's most ardent fans immediately sensed that something in the account (excluding the username, which already gave a big clue) was wrong and that it was almost certainly a fake, but others, on the other hand, fell for it and started commenting addressing him directly and complimenting him for being ironic and "down to earth." It seems that even friends of the real Robert have been fooled by his surreal videos, as he himself told ES Magazine expressing his misgivings about deepfakes: "It's terrifying the amount of people who know me quite well and will still be like, "Why are you doing these weird dancing videos on TikTok?" You just realize that we’re two years away from it being indistinguishable from reality...and what on Earth am I going to do as a job then?" We are pretty sure that, at least for the moment, Pattinson's career is safe and that we will see him in new films for a long time to come (by a strange coincidence, in the next one, titled Mickey 17, the actor will play a clone!). Nevertheless, the phenomenon of deepfakes, which seems rather harmless when used for dancing and ironic gags and which also co-occurs on TikTok with other stars such as Keanu ReevesTom Cruise and Jason Statham hides possible worrying drifts starting from pornographic or defamatory deepfakes at the expense of celebrity to the creation of fake news and virtual scams thanks to image manipulation.