Using deepfake A.I. technology, a TikTok user transformed into Tom Cruise for a series of videos that ‘genuinely scared’ fans.
Sorry, but Tom Cruise didn’t join TikTok. However, a very realistic doppelgänger did — well, sort of. Thanks to the technology of Deepfake, a type of artificial intelligence that can replace someone’s face with another person’s, many fans believed that the Mission Impossible star was actually posting TikToks of himself under the name of “@deeptomcruise” (the name should’ve been a major hint).
The first deepfake video of Mr. Cruise was uploaded on Feb. 22, which showed a faux Tom demonstrating his golf swing. “What’s up, TikTok? You guys cool if I play some sports?” the impersonator said into the camera, nailing Tom’s voice. The “deepfake” Tom even did a spot-on impersonation of the Risky Business star‘s laugh at the end of the video, which has racked up nearly nine million views and one million likes.
The acting even got arguably better in the second video, which showed the deepfake version of the Top Gun actor sharing an anecdote about his time in Russia (that video received 1.7 million views). And the most recent TikTok, which was uploaded on Feb. 26, was of Tom’s very realistic A.I.-impersonator showing off a magic trick with a coin. “I’m going to show you some magic. It’s the real thing. I mean, uh, it’s all…the real…thing,” the impersonator said, seemingly poking fun at the fact that he is not actually the “real” Tom.
I love magic!
The videos were so realistic, they actually frightened viewers! “Deep fakes are getting scary good and taking over TikTok. Every public figure should just be on there with a verified account – even if they don’t want to make content – to make it easier to identify their fakes,” one person tweeted over one of @deeptomcruise’s videos, while another person wrote, “I am genuinely scared by this Tom Cruise deepfake. It‘s brilliant but it‘s terrifying.” Someone even pointed out that TikTok actually banned deepfakes in Aug. 2020.
TikTok banned deep fakes last year. But then a deepfake Tom Cruise showed up there and got 11 million views.
— Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) March 3, 2021
However, others just found the videos to be more funny than concerning. “The establishment is troubled by the fact the deepfakes would theoretically allow us to make our own Tom Cruise movies at home,” one such person tweeted.
The real Tom Cruise does have Instagram and Twitter accounts, however, where he shared a viral video of himself surprising fans while heading “to the movies” in London in Aug. 2020. Whether or not he’s trying to, Tom has a knack for going viral online.