Claim: A TikTok user with the handle Celebs za (@celebs_za) shared a video of “Elon Musk” saying he is building Nigeria’s world’s most expensive hotel.
Verdict: The alleged video is a deepfake technology that matched Elon Musk’s face and voice to someone else’s statement. The video is entirely false.
A TikTok user, Celebs za (@celebs_za), shared a video featuring Elon Musk saying he is building Nigeria’s world’s most expensive hotel. As he spoke, an aerial view of the massive structure under construction was shown as the alleged project of the hotel he is currently building in Nigeria. His words, layered in the video’s background, point to the reality that the project is already underway.
“I have already started building the most expensive in the world in Nigeria.”
The video was shared alongside a description predicting the ongoing structure will be better than the Atlantis in Dubai.
“It’s gonna be better than Atlantis in Dubai.”
As of the time this report was written, the video had gathered over two million views with close to 2,000 shares. Although many doubted the video, others ran with the narrative as they discussed the hope for Nigeria’s economy through the alleged venture.
A TikToker, Ambad (@ambabdirahmannurd) from Somalia, wondered why Elon Musk did not consider his country for such a big project. He said:
“Elon why dont u build a big Hotel in beautiful beach in Mogadishu, Somalia (sic).”
Another person, Emmy (@Emmyleefund), praised the billionaire for the supposed lofty project and said:
“Wow, thanks for bringing Nigeria up.”
Those were not all. One user, Crystal (@crystalrosemine), saw a job opportunity and tapped into what the project could offer him. In his words:
“Please, Sir, Employ me. I am Hotel Manager ORIGINATING from RADISSON BLU ANCHORAGE HOTELS VICTORIA ISLAND, Lagos.”
Mimi (@mimioladapo), who argued that the video was fake, was one of the lone voices that called out the fake clip for what it was.
“Deepfake, that’s the tool. Y’all just need to get self-education in the tech world
Lol AI been doing amazing things.”
With the recent interest Nigerians are showing towards Starlink (founded by Musk) in Nigeria, the alleged post made many think the hotel is also another particular interest the American billionaire has in Nigeria.
A report by Time magazine listed Elon Musk’s business ventures as Space X, Tesla, Nueralink, PayPal, and Twitter, among others. All these are technology-related ventures, and the billionaire has none known to the public related to the real estate business.
Suspecting the alleged video to be deepfake, DUBAWA ran an analysis of the clip on Deepware.ai, a tool that vets videos to determine the elements of deepfake therein. Interestingly, the results from the test reveal the alleged video is indeed a deepfake.
Results of analysis carried out by Deepware reveal the alleged video is a deep fake.
What are deepfakes videos?
Deepfake videos have been popular in recent times. Combining the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), deepfakes, according to Norton, combines both AL and ML to overlap a person’s face over another one to make a false identity real. While deepfakes could be hard to spot, some features give them away.
How to spot deepfakes
Establishing that the alleged video is deepfake, DUBAWA looked out for features such as jerking body moves, a lack of emotions, and artificial voicing.
- Jerky body movement
Seconds into the video, Elon Musk’s head moved upwards in a way that shows that its frames were not natural. It was a jerky movement that an attentive person could have only spotted.
- Stark lack of emotions
Throughout the short video, the fake Elon Musk’s face was bland as his eyes rolled coldly from side to side. He announced as if it was nothing exciting to look forward to. See a screenshot below:
- Artificial voicing
While the AI tried too much to make the voice sound like Elon Musk’s, it failed at syncing the man’s lip movement to the words spoken in the video. Also, there’s a robotic flair to the voice. It is similar to one of the robotic sounds identified by All Sounds as “human has been neutralised”.
The alleged footage of the structure is not in Nigeria
Taking the verification further, DUBAWA made a Google lens search on the alleged structure Mr Musk is said to be currently building in Nigeria. The results revealed the structure is the Tesla Factory in Austin, Texas, that Bloomberg featured in a report about Mr Musk’s automobile company in the US.
A screenshot of the reverse image search result. As can be seen below, it matched the first visual suggestion.
See the same image as it appeared in a Bloomberg report on Tesla below:
After investigating the building image used in the video for deepfake features, it was found that the clip was fake. The clip was generated using AI, and artificial intelligence, and the author deceptively cast Elon Musk alongside the narrative. The claim is false.