Screengrabs of the video sent to the DAU tipline

The Deepfakes Analysis Unit (DAU) analysed a video featuring Rajat Sharma, India TV news anchor and chairperson, apparently promoting a cure for diabetes. After putting the video through A.I. detection tools and seeking analysis from experts, we were able to conclude that the video had been produced using unrelated clips patched together with an A.I- generated audio track.

A Facebook link for the two minute and 10-second video in Hindi was sent to the DAU tipline for assessment. The video is packaged as a news story with a logo visible on the  top right corner of the frame, alternating between “IndiaTV” spelt in English and Hindi. It opens with visuals of Mr. Sharma in a studio setting apparently talking to the camera. A male voice over his visuals announces a breakthrough treatment for diabetes courtesy someone named Avinash Mishra, referred to as a scientist in the video.

The disparate clips that follow, range from those of the supposed scientist to crowds on the streets as well as long queues, with the narration over these visuals in the same male voice, conveying that there is high demand for the so-called cure. Superimposed text at the bottom of the video frame constantly provides additional information about that cure.

The video also features clips and images from hospitals, a string of clips of news presenters from around the world, with the voice over those visuals talking about the same breakthrough cure. Indian politicians also feature in the video with accompanying narration in a female voice.

In the portions that feature Sharma talking to the camera, his lip-sync does not align with the audio that can be heard. The audio bears a certain similarity to his natural voice, however, the tone and pitch do not match his public style of delivery. The narration in the female voice also has a synthetic quality to it.

We undertook a reverse image search using screenshots from the video under review to find the origin of the various clips interspersed in it.

We were able to trace Sharma’s clips to this video which was published on May 27, 2024 from the official YouTube channel of India TV. He makes no reference to diabetes or any related cure in the video and his lip-sync is absolutely perfect. Snippets from the initial two minutes of the original video seem to have been lifted and used in the manipulated video, as there is similarity in the backdrop, clothing, and body language of Sharma in the two videos.

The supposed scientist featured in the video is not Avinash Mishra but Atul Gawande, an American surgeon and public health researcher. His clips were lifted from this video, published from the official YouTube channel of Frontline PBS on Oct. 12, 2014.

A four-second clip of  crowds was traced to this video about protests over unemployment, uploaded from the official YouTube channel of Voice of America on Sept. 14, 2019.  While we weren’t able to track down the original videos for the other clips featuring crowds, we were able to establish that those visuals were also unrelated to a diabetes cure. 

The international anchors featured in the doctored video include Tucker Carlson; a clip of his has been lifted from this video, which was originally published from the official YouTube channel of Fox News on April 20, 2023 and is in English. The clip of a female anchor could be traced to this video, published on July 2, 2019 from the official YouTube channel of Guardian News; it features a broadcast from China’s state broadcaster CCTV in Chinese with English subtitles. None of these videos discuss anything mentioned in the doctored video. The backdrop of the anchors in none of the original videos feature visuals of Mr. Gawande, as seen in the video we reviewed.

We could not trace the original videos of the two other anchors featured in the video as the overall video quality was poor and that impacted the reverse image search results.

The clips featuring politicians could be traced to the swearing-in ceremony of President Draupadi Murmu uploaded on the official YouTube channel of Sansad TV on July 25, 2022. There is no mention of diabetes or a cure in the original video.

After analysing the scattered clips and tracing most of the video footage to their original videos, we were able to establish that all the visuals featured in the doctored video have been patched together and overlaid with different audio tracks.

Fact-checks by our partners have validated that videos with similar claims, packaged as news stories with fake audio, have been created in the past. Though they feature different anchors they have similar generic visuals but different audio tracks, pointing to a certain trend in terms of packaging misinformation around cures.

We wanted to ascertain if A.I. had been used to fabricate the audio or even any of the visual elements, to that end we ran the video through a series of A.I. detection tools.

Hive AI’s deepfake video detection tool recognised portions of A.I. manipulation for only two anchors featured in the video. Their audio tool indicated strong A.I. tampering in the audio in the beginning and toward the end, both segments featuring the audio being attributed to Sharma.

Screenshot of the analysis from Hive AI’s deepfake video detection tool

Screenshot of the analysis from Hive AI’s deepfake video detection tool

We also ran the video through TrueMedia’s deepfake detector which suggested substantial evidence of manipulation in the video. It gave a 100 percent confidence score to “face manipulation” and 72 percent confidence score to “generative convolutional vision transformer”, both sub-categories indicating a high probability of the use of A.I. to fabricate faces of the subjects featured in the video.

The tool also gave a 100 percent confidence score to “A.I. generated audio detection”, pointing to a very high probability of the use of A.I.- generated audio track in the video.

Screenshot of the analysis from TrueMedia’s deepfake detection tool

Screenshot of the audio analysis from TrueMedia’s deepfake detection tool

We also put the video through the A.I. speech classifier of ElevenLabs, a company specialising in voice A.I. research and deployment, to get a further analysis on the audio. It returned results which indicated that there was an 84 percent probability that the audio track used in the video was generated using their software.

Screenshot of the analysis from A.I. speech classifier of ElevenLabs

We reached out to ElevenLabs to get confirmation on the Classifier results. They told the DAU that they were able to confirm that the audio is synthetic, implying that the audio track used in the video was generated using A.I. 

On the basis of our findings and analyses from experts, we conclude that the video featuring Sharma and a string of other public faces is fabricated with synthetic audio. It is yet another case where health misinformation is packaged as a news story.

(Written by Debopriya Bhattacharya with inputs from Debraj Sarkar, and edited by Pamposh Raina.)

Kindly Note: The manipulated audio/video files that we receive on our tipline are not embedded in our assessment reports because we do not intend to contribute to their virality.

You can read below the fact-checks related to this piece published by our partners: 

Fact Check: Video of President Droupadi Murmu, UP CM Yogi promoting diabetes drug is digitally altered

Deepfake audio used to claim Indian news anchor, politicians endorsed 'miracle’ diabetes cure 

फैक्ट चेक: शाहरुख, हेमा मालिनी और अंजना ओम कश्यप के नाम पर वायरल डायबिटीज की दवा के ये विज्ञापन फर्जी हैं 

Fact Check: Is Rajat Sharma endorsing a diabetes medication Botachi?