Did CNN break the news that Elon Musk was unveiling an investment project, and did Musk make a guest appearance via live feed to introduce his new AI trading platform? No, that's not true: This fake promotion is made with real but repurposed video clips that have had an AI text-to-speech voiceover added to them. The video of Musk was originally filmed at the 2023 Tesla shareholder meeting in Austin, Texas, on May 16, 2023, and he was not speaking about a trading platform. This is not a real CNN news segment. Lead Stories has debunked a nearly identical video that used the same AI-generated text-to-speech transcript to spoof a BBC broadcast, using Musk's name and fame to deceptively promote a trading platform.
When this video is presented to a Facebook user as a sponsored post, they are directed to one of two websites, abbeeforne.space, which was created on July 21, 2023, or tortably.space, which was created on August 15, 2023. Tortably.space was created the same day this Facebook ad campaign began, and the website was already down at the time of writing.
The chyron text of the fake CNN broadcast, which functions as captioning throughout the video, reads:
BREAKING NEWS ON CNN NEWS AND WELCOME. ALL THE EUROPEAN UNION CITIZENS NO LONGER NEED TO WORK. THAT'S THE ANNOUNCEMENT MADE BY OUR GUEST TODAY, ELON MUSK.
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Aug 22 15:50:10 2023 UTC)
A portion of the transcript is copied below. The AI-generated text-to-speech female voice that has been dubbed over a video of CNN news anchor Kaitlan Collins says:
Breaking news on TenNews and welcome. All the European Union citizens no longer need to work. That's the announcement made by our guest today, Elon Musk, who will unveil a new investment project. While the connection is going on, I will tell you more. This project opens new opportunities for Europeans to receive a return on investment. More than $3 billion were invested in the new project and is already up and running at the moment. This project is based on a super computer. Artificial intelligence was integrated in the trading software. The new super computer analyses the trade every millisecond and closes the deal with a 98 percent success rate. Also Elon said that each resident will be able to earn an income of 5,700 euros per day. No matter who you are, whether you're a housewife, a worker, or a waiter.
On August 10, 2023, Lead Stories debunked a nearly identical claim (pictured below) that was spoofing a BBC newscast with news presenter Matthew Amroliwala. The same transcript was used with minor word substitutions to generate a male voice. In this version, British residents rather than European Union citizens are targeted with the pitch, and pounds rather than euros were used, although in both cases there was a promise of making 5,700 of them per day.
Breaking news on BBC News and welcome. All the British residents no longer need to work. That's the announcement made by our guest today, Elon Musk, who will unveil a new investment project. While the connection is going on, I will tell you more. This project opens new opportunities for British people to receive a return on investment. More than three billion dollars were invested in the new project and is already up and running at the moment. This project is based on a supercomputer. Artificial intelligence was integrated in the trading software. The new supercomputer analysis can trade every millisecond and closes the deal with a 98 percent success rate. Also Elon said that each resident will be able to earn an income of 5,700 pounds per day. No matter who you are, whether you're a housewife, a worker or a waiter.
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Thu Aug 10 19:11:27 2023 UTC)
Lead Stories performed an advanced search of Google for the phrase, "'New Investment Project from Elon Musk' site:cnn.com," which did not return any results (archived here).
The video of Musk featured in the spoof CNN newscast was taken from the 2023 shareholder's meeting held in Austin, Texas, on May 16, 2023. The composite image (below) compares screenshots from 11:25 minutes into the YouTube video (on left) with 1:13 minutes into the spoof video (on right) where the AI voiceover says:
I'LL TELL YOU ABOUT THAT IN A MOMENT. FIRST LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MYSELF. AS I SAID, I AM THE FOUNDER AND CEO OF TESLA INVESTMENTS ...
In the original video, Musk was telling the shareholders:
For the first time, in, I think, over a hundred years, we're actually going to change from 12 volt voltage of, you know, outside of the drivetrain to a 48 volt architecture. And to first approximation that means we need only about a quarter as much copper in the car as would be needed for a 12 volt battery.
(Source: Lead Stories composite image with YouTube and Facebook screenshots taken on Tue Aug 22 15:50:10 2023 UTC)
Lead Stories has debunked many false claims about Elon Musk in the past; several include deepfake manipulated videos. These can be found here.