Because misinformation is as dangerous as the virus.

Going Viral is an interactive artwork that invites people to share COVID-19 informational videos featuring algorithmically generated celebrities, social media influencers, and politicians that have previously spread misinformation about coronavirus. In the videos, the influencers deliver public service announcements or present news stories that counter the misinformation they have spread. Viewers are invited to share the videos on social media to help intervene in the current infodemic that has developed alongside the coronavirus.

Going Viral was commissioned by the NEoN Digital Arts festival. It was created by Derek Curry and Jennifer Gradecki as part of their research into the spread of misinformation and neural networks.

New video is generated from the facial landmarks of the input speaker.


The videos in Going Viral are made using a Pix2Pix conditional generative adversarial network (cGAN). In a cGAN, a neural network is trained on sets of two images where one image becomes a map to produce a second image. In Going Viral, the two images are landmarks from facial recognition and a frame from a video. Once the model is trained, it can be used to generate an image of a face based on only the facial landmarks from the first image.

The process starts by extracting the facial landmarks of an influencer, celebrity, or politician from frames of a video. A model that maps the landmarks to a specific image of the influencer is then trained. Next, we take video of an expert or journalist speaking on a topic the influencer has spread misinformation about and extract the facial landmarks from that expert. We then use the facial landmarks of the second speaker to generate video frames of influencer, celebrity, or politician speaking the same words. Finally, the new frames are combined with the audio track of the expert or journalist to produce a new video where an influencer is correcting the misinformation they have spread.