Canadian Security Magazine

P.E.I. chef warns about scam video ‘deepfake’ advertisement circulating on Facebook

The Canadian Press   

News artificial intelligence deepfake

A Prince Edward Island chef and TV host is warning people about a fake video advertisement that features him offering hundreds of dollars worth of cookware for free — in return for credit card details.

Michael Smith says for almost two weeks now a “deepfake” video ad has been circulating on Facebook that features his voice and likeness saying that he and the cookware brand Le Creuset are giving away free $500 sets of cookware to people who submit their credit card information in the next 24 hours.

“Some kind of AI has gotten in there and examined my voice, my videos and it’s made me say things that I’ve never said before,” Smith said in an interview Thursday.

The term deepfake refers to the use of artificial intelligence to create video, images or audio that can realistically replicate someone’s voice, appearance or movement.


Smith, a former Food Network Canada chef who co-owns The Inn at Bay Fortune in P.E.I., said he’s angry that Facebook has not taken down the ad despite repeated requests for it to be removed from both him and Le Creuset.

“I find it unconscionable. Facebook is selling this ad, they are making money and ripping off Canadians … and the ad is still running,” he said. The chef said he has been using his various social media profiles to warn his followers that the video ad is a scam.

Meta, the company that owns Facebook, did not immediately return requests for comment.

It’s not the first time in his career that Smith’s name or picture has been used against his wishes to promote something, but he said he’s never seen anything like this.

“Some people are falling for it. My mother-in-law got all the way through to the point where it was time to put in her credit card, and that’s my own mother-in-law,” Smith said.

“I’ve worked my whole career to be an authentic voice for my food, my family and my community. And then along comes this, which crashes right into that.”

Smith is not the only notable figure to have their likeness hijacked in deceptive ads on Facebook. Media reported earlier this year that a deepfake video of Taylor Swift was used in another purported Le Creuset giveaway, and a deepfake video of Oprah Winfrey promoting an influencer’s self-help course also circulated on Facebook.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 25, 2024.

— By Lyndsay Armstrong in Halifax

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