Fact Check: Digitally Manipulated Video Does NOT Authentically Portray Dancing Macron And Zelenskyy

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Digitally Manipulated Video Does NOT Authentically Portray Dancing Macron And Zelenskyy Deepfake

Does a viral video show authentic footage of Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelenskyy and France's Emmanuel Macron dancing before becoming president? No, that's not true: Heavily edited, it contained a substantial amount of deepfake shots. Other people's faces were digitally replaced with those of Zelenskyy and Macron.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on Instagram on June 29, 2024, under the title:

...WTF.

This is what it looked like on Instagram at the time of writing:

wtf Zelenskyy.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Tue Jul 9 16:11:51 2024 UTC)

The post implied that the video was authentic footage capturing the presidents of France and Ukraine dancing.

The earliest version of the same clip found by Lead Stories was uploaded on X, formerly known as Twitter, on June 20, 2024 (archived here) with the caption originally written in Turkish. As translated to English by X, it read:

Macron Vs Zelinsikii The Pasts of 2 Hiyarins Who Shape the Destiny of the Nation.

That clip contained frames purporting to show Zelenskyy performing a belly dance previously identified by Lead Stories as a deepfake.

Shots of "Macron" appear to have been taken from videos that depict the club scene of the 1980s. That footage, uploaded to YouTube almost 15 years before the clip on Instagram went viral, showed different people, not Macron.

Here is one telling example: The person who appears (on right below) at the 2:38 mark in this video on YouTube (archived here) in the same position, scene and outfit as "Macron" does not look like the French president at all.

Screenshot 2024-07-09 at 1.29.53 PM.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Tue Jul 9 17:29:53 2024 UTC)

Another example of the same kind can be seen at the 3:09 mark in a different video from the same channel on YouTube (archived here):

Screenshot 2024-07-09 at 1.59.00 PM.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Tue Jul 9 17:59:00 2024 UTC)

One more video of a California disco club from the 1980s offers the third example at the 1:32 mark (archived here):

Screenshot 2024-07-09 at 2.16.45 PM.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Tue Jul 9 18:16:45 2024 UTC)

Online AI-detection tools True Media (maintained by a nonpartisan nonprofit) and DEEPFAKE-O-METER (maintained by the University of Buffalo) further confirmed the substantial presence of visuals concocted by artificial intelligence tools in the video in question:

Screenshot 2024-07-09 at 12.27.45 PM.png

(Source: True Media screenshot taken on Tue Jul 9 16:27:45 2024 UTC)

Screenshot 2024-07-09 at 12.27.29 PM.png

(Source: True Media screenshot taken on Tue Jul 9 16:27:29 2024 UTC)

Screenshot 2024-07-09 at 12.09.20 PM.png

(Source: DeepFake-O-Meter screenshot taken on Tue Jul 9 16:09:20  2024 UTC)

In March 2024, PolitiFact reviewed a similar claim incorporating other digitally manipulated shots from the same YouTube channel with videos of the dancing venue from the 1980s.

Other Lead Stories fact checks about Volodymyr Zelenskyy are here. Fact checks mentioning Emmanuel Macron are here.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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