MARATHON LAUNCHES FIRST-OF-ITS-KIND SERVICE TO COUNTER THE THREAT OF DEEPFAKES
With digitally manipulated videos and audio recordings increasingly targeting public figures, strategic communications firm offers customized reputational service.
Marathon Strategies, a full-service communications and research firm, has launched a first-of-its-kind program to help individuals, corporations, political campaigns, and other organizations counter the growing problem of “deepfakes” – digitally altered videos or audio recordings used for political disinformation, corporate sabotage, and personal smears.
Employing a team of government-trained imagery analysts and crisis communications experts, Marathon provides a one-stop shop to neutralize the fallout from deepfake attacks before any irreparable damage is done to the reputation of an individual or organization.
“No technological solutions have yet been developed to detect and prevent fake video and audio clips from spreading across the online media landscape. Until that changes, only trained experts can mitigate this threat,” said Marathon CEO and founder Phil Singer. “Our team has the experience and skills to detect, investigate, and address disinformation campaigns by malicious online actors.”
With the 2020 presidential election approaching, the deepfake phenomenon is drawing increased attention, as experts warn that highly convincing but false depictions of candidates could influence the outcome of a given race.
But political candidates are far from the only targets of these doctored videos and audio recordings. Other prominent figures – including corporate leaders, athletes, and celebrities – have been subjected to deepfakes that presented the potential for significant financial loss as well as reputational damage.
Marathon’s deepfake team, led by investigative research veteran and Managing Director Ray Hernandez, draws on a network of former members of the US intelligence community, cyber analysts, and imagery experts who provide extensive investigation and analysis to quickly identify the telltale signs of a deepfake and investigate the potential source. At the same time, Marathon’s crisis management team works closely with clients to prepare for a deepfake attack, mitigate the immediate fallout of a deepfake video or audio, and respond to falsehoods in real time before they become cemented in public opinion.
“By combining expert imagery analysis with extensive media management, we are prepared to repair and preserve the image of individuals or organizations that find themselves under assault by a deepfake,” said Hernandez, a former New York Times reporter who undertook high-level investigations. “The threat posed by deepfakes will continue to grow steadily as the technology behind them becomes more sophisticated. That’s why it’s crucial for public figures to prepare to defend themselves before a deepfake attack occurs by having a multi-faceted team in place to manage these situations when they do happen.”