You’d be forgiven for thinking that Tom Cruise had joined TikTok if you stumbled across a new account that surfaced last month on the platform. In three videos uploaded to @deeptomcruise, the 58-year-old can be seen practising his golf swing, falling over in a store, telling an anecdote about Mikhail Gorbachev and performing a magic trick with a coin.Only… it isn’t Tom Cruise. These are highly slick deepfakes, which are either fascinating or terrifying, wherever you stand on the technology. The channel @deeptomcruise has notched up 1.1 million likes and 380,000 followers, as well as nearly 12 million views on its three videos, as people freaked out over the uncanny replica of Tom.
As well as looking exactly like the Mission: Impossible star, Deepfake Tom had his laugh and mannerisms down to a tee One comment read: ‘So you’re telling me this isn’t actually Tom Cruise’, while another person wrote: ‘I’m just gonna go with “Hey Tom, way to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes”.’
Others were more uncomfortable with the videos, with one comment reading: ‘This went from being cool to starting to scare me.’ Henry Ajder, a leading expert on deepfakes, told the Times that the @deeptomcruise videos are ‘very much in the top 5 percent of deepfakes out there in terms of quality’.
If you look closely, the clues are there that it is not the actual Tom Cruise in the videos, in addition to the name of the account. Deepfake Tom appears to be a younger version of the actor from back in the day, and looks taller than the real deal, but your average TikTok scroller isn’t going to notice that.