On March 8, President Joe Biden announced the nomination of two women to be four-star general in an event at the White House to commemorate the occasion of International Women's Day. At the event, Biden was accompanied by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as two female combatant command nominees.
However, news coverage of the event has now gone viral after conspiracy theorists started circulating rumors that Biden's team was using the president's hologram or a deepfake is being used for public appearances.
Is That a Hologram or Deepfake?
A Twitter user and conspiracy theorist named Teresa AnnMarie shared slowed-down video footage of NBC News' coverage of the event showing Biden walking out of the room after announcing his nomination with Harris following him.
The clip appears to show the top of Biden's head disappearing for a split-second as he makes his way out the door, leading many to believe the glitch may have been the result of special effects technology that was being used to project the president's image at the White House due to his declining mental health. Watch the clip below:
"Is that a hologram?," wrote one user, while another commented, "It's a deepfake. The dementia has gotten worse. He can't even string a sentence together anymore." Meanwhile, another user pointed out that the viewfinder of video camera of one of the reporters at the scene shows an "all purple scene."
What further fueled the wild conspiracy theory is that, in an article on Wednesday, The Hill's Sharyl Attkisson floated the possibility of the president's team using deepfake or hologram technology after going 48 days without a solo press conference.
"This AI technology can make people who didn't say or do something look very much like they said or did the thing," he wrote. "They can even interact and take part in rational-sounding two-way conversations."
Citing campaign appearances by hologram-like figures India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Attkisson added, "Joe Biden isn't a hologram. But if he wanted to be, and if powerful people with access to the latest technology wanted to make him one, it seems as though there might be little they couldn't accomplish."
No Special Effects, Just Twitter Compression
As far as the conspiracy theory is concerned, we can confirm that Biden was physically present at the event and not his CGI-version. The glitch that shows the top of the president's head vanish momentarily is the result of video compression by twitter. Biden's hair and the white walls in the background are the same colour, which the compression codec might have mistaken as one.
We found the original footage from NBC News, in which Biden's head no longer performs the disappearing act. Watch the video below. The footage appears at the 26:30 minute mark: