Jordan Peele Voices Obama in PSA Against Fake Videos: 'Ben Carson Is in the Sunken Place'

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Director Jordan Peele uses his comedic chops--and a handy Obama impersonation-- to warn the public about online misinformation campaigns. Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

In an attempt to warn the public about manipulated videos, Academy Award–winning director Jordan Peele created one that appears to show former President Barack Obama calling current commander-in-chief Donald Trump a "complete dipsh-t."

Peele, whose much-lauded impression of President Obama earned the comedian accolades, dubs his voice in for Obama's in the roughly one-minute short. The video, in which Peele-Obama issues a warning, is meant to illustrate how easy it is to create a convincing edit and spread misinformation.

"We're entering an era in which our enemies can make it look like anyone is saying anything at any point in time, even if they would never say those things," Peele says, doing his best to imitate the former president's deep voice. "So, for instance, they could have me say things like, 'I don't know, Killmonger was right!' Or, 'Ben Carson is in the sunken place!' Or, how 'bout this: Simply, 'President Trump is a total and complete dipsh-t.'"

The PSA ends with a reveal, in which Peele warns viewers to "stay woke" when assessing information found online.

The video was a collaboration between Peele and his brother-in-law, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti. The news outlet reported that the two had been discussing the prevalence and realistic quality of so-called "deepfakes," an image synthesis technique often used for face-swapping, when the idea for the digital video began.

"I think by and large the internet has been amazingly beneficial to the world and to democracy," Peretti told his outlet, "and simultaneously it's always had a dark side that's objectionable, with people who are either trolls or hackers or scammers or politically motivated."

Misinformation campaigns can be particularly pervasive—and effective—on social media sites. Following the YouTube shooting, people used that very platform to spread images and videos that claimed the alleged shooter was actually a deepfake.

Dr. Gordon Pennycook, who researches the proliferation of fake news at Yale University, told Newsweek that the content is particularly harmful when used to bolster political ideologies that would otherwise prompt more skepticism.

"The problem in this domain is that people are intensely partisan," Pennycook said in a previous interview. "They believe these things because it coincides with what their ideology says. It's mostly a matter of lazy thinking, especially on social media, where people are inattentive. That can be especially true for claims that are surprising."

It may look like Obama in the new PSA, but it's Jordan Peele speaking. The director and his brother-in-law created the video to warn against misinformation campaigns. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty