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FACT CHECK: Video report by TV anchors on ‘free’ necklace is fake, AI manipulated 


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FACT CHECK: Video report by TV anchors on ‘free’ necklace is fake, AI manipulated 
Sensity, an AI detection web tool, tags as 'suspicious,' with a high confidence level, the video of two news anchors

CLAIM: The Basilica de Santa Maria is giving away free “Mama Mary” necklaces from the Vatican, according to news anchors of GMA Integrated News’ 24 Oras.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The video bearing the claim was made on December 16 by a Facebook page named “Brother Eduard” which has 440 followers. As of writing, the video has gained 1.9 million views, 57,000 reactions, 11,000 comments, and 875 shares. 

The supposed news report shows GMA news anchor Ivan Mayrina, while another clip features host Susan Enriquez, both supposedly promoting a necklace that reportedly originated from the “Mama Mary shrine” and was blessed by Vatican priests.

In the video, a certain “Father Eduardo” from the “Basilica De Santa Maria” claims they began distributing necklaces during a church anniversary celebration.

Publication, Advertisement, Poster

The facts: The voices of the GMA anchors were “fake and possibly AI-generated,” the network said in a report aired on Tuesday, January 4.

While the voices mimicked those of the news anchors, the movement of the mouth seen in the videos did not match the words, GMA said. The network added that neither its social media team nor the 24 Oras news team used the large fonts seen in the video’s graphics. (READ: Beware of this ‘Mama Mary necklace from the Vatican’)

AI-generated: Sensity, a web-based tool for detecting AI, found the video featuring Mayrina as “suspicious” with a 93.8% confidence level. The video featuring Enriquez was also flagged as “suspicious” with an 82.9% confidence level. 

“High confidence indicates that the detector has found definite signals of AI generation or manipulation. Minimum confidence for this detector is 50%,” Sensity noted.

Founded in 2018, Netherlands-based company Sensity specializes in detecting “deepfakes and other forms of malicious visual media.”

Dubious details: A reverse image search also showed that the church featured in the video is the church complex of Saint Vincent Ferrer Parish in Calape, Bohol, and not the “Basilica De Santa Maria.” 

Meanwhile, the image of Mary in the video is similar to the 71-foot statue of Regina Rica in Tanay, Rizal. 

In the video featuring Mayrina, the news ticker shows: “At si Julie Ann San Jose flinex ang kanyang skill sa pagkanta ng Japanese.” (And Julie Ann San Jose showcased her singing skills in Japanese.) This news item aired on March 31, 2023, at which time, Mayrina was not one of the main anchors of 24 Oras.

AI disinformation: Overseas, AI-generated news anchors have been used for spreading disinformation like in the case of Venezuela, where fake “American” hosts are seen in videos on state-run TV. 

In its 2023 report, human rights advocacy group Freedom House flagged AI-powered disinformation as a significant threat. 

As AI tools become more affordable and easy to use, the report said that disinformation networks are expected to “increase their reliance on AI-based tools that can create text, audio, images, and video en masse.” (READ: Disinformation in 2023: Growing AI reliance, X’s reckoning, tech guardrails still absent

Online publication Cut the Saas also pointed out that AI detection tools “aren’t foolproof,” particularly due to the difficulty of distinguishing between human-generated and AI-generated content, especially when the two are combined. This complexity makes it challenging for detection tools designed to identify specific AI patterns and structures to work. – James Patrick Cruz/Rappler.com

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. You may also report dubious claims to #FactsFirstPH tipline by messaging Rappler on Facebook or Newsbreak via Twitter direct message. You may also report through our Viber fact check chatbot. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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