China’s doppelganger Elon Musk, Ma Yilong, has taken the internet by storm. Users on Tiktok and other mediums have been wrestling between his resemblance to Elon Musk and the possibility of another convincing deepfake.
The TikToker, whose handle is @mayilong0, has only published eight videos but has amassed tens of millions of views. Twitter props and Tesla cars surround the creator’s content to imitate Elon Musk’s social media content.
Throughout his videos, the Chinese social media sensation is known as “Elong Musk,” who wears a suit and has a similar haircut to Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Before his popularity on Tiktok, Yilong’s content caught Chinese viewers’ eyes on Weibo and Douyin – China’s version of Twitter and Tiktok. However, his content only exists on Tiktok as platforms such as Weibo have removed Yilong’s content over policy violations.
After first stumbling upon Ma Yilong’s content in December 2021, Elon Musk (the real one) tweeted that he may be “partly Chinese” himself. Later, the Space X and Tesla owner tweeted that he would love to meet the guy if it is not another deepfake account. Yilong responded by accepting Musk’s invitation and calling him his hero.
The billionaire’s concerns over deepfakes are perfectly valid. According to Verdict, the number of deepfakes has skyrocketed over the last few years. Since records began in 2018, the number of perfectly constructed deepfakes has been increasing every six months, says a Sensity report published in 2020, with no indications of decreasing.
Robert Pattinson, a global celebrity, was the most recent star to be attacked. A Tik Tok account purporting to be run by Robert Pattinson racked up over 600,000 followers just a few weeks after its launch in late March 2022.
Many people found this strange, given the Hollywood actor had previously indicated that he would not participate in social media in 2019. The videos were indeed deepfakes, and the account was eventually deactivated.
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