Facebook removes nearly 1,000 accounts with AI-generated profile photos

Dec 23, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Facebook removes nearly 1,000 accounts with AI-generated profile photos

Dec 23, 2019

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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When AI-generated faces became more widespread and available, some people feared that these fake portraits could be misused. Well, their fears came true. On Friday, Facebook removed almost a thousand of fake profiles, pages, and groups that used photos generated by artificial intelligence. And according to the sources, all of them were used to push political, mainly right-wing campaigns.

All of the deceptive profiles, pages, and groups are a part of a “global network” allegedly used to push pro-Trump narratives to millions of users on Facebook and Instagram. According to Facebook, they removed 39 Facebook accounts, 344 Pages, 13 Groups and 22 Instagram accounts as part of a domestic-focused network originated in Georgia. The larger group contained 610 accounts, 89 Facebook Pages, 156 Groups and 72 Instagram accounts that originated in Vietnam and the US. The second group and focused “primarily on the US and some on Vietnam, Spanish and Chinese-speaking audiences globally,” Facebook writes in its report.

Reportedly, these fake accounts were used to manage pages and groups and to direct traffic to sites out of Facebook. According to the report, the activity was connected primarily with US-based media company The BL, operated by individuals in the US and Vietnam. These individuals created fake accounts with AI-generated profile photos in order to make their profiles seem more authentic. Facebook explains that they mainly posted “memes and other content about US political news and issues including impeachment, conservative ideology, political candidates, elections, trade, family values and freedom of religion.” In a report by disinformation groups Graphika and DFRLab, this content was mostly pushing a pro-Trump narrative.

The report reads that this “global network” reached about 55 million people through the pages it created. About 381,500 people joined at least one of its groups and around 92,000 people followed at least one of these Instagram accounts.

Graphika and DFRLab note that this was the first time they’ve seen AI-generated photos used in a social media campaign. And while the AI-generated portraits can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from real ones, there still are things that give them away. “Images generated by the current state of GANs are notorious for struggling with features that should be symmetrical on the human face, such as glasses or earrings,” Graphika and DFRLab write in their report. They add that AI-generated photos can usually be told from poor background details, and profile pictures from the global network “showed telltales of all three.”

Perhaps the silver lining is that AI-generated photos are still relatively easy to discover, so campaigns like this can be successfully busted. But when (and if) fake portraits became more realistic… I’m afraid we’ll get to see a lot more misuses like this one. And it doesn’t sound encouraging at all.

[via Wired]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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5 responses to “Facebook removes nearly 1,000 accounts with AI-generated profile photos”

  1. GM Avatar
    GM

    A drop in the ocean of fake accounts. Facebook is failing everyone.

  2. Le Canard Avatar
    Le Canard

    So we know that the silicone valley social media firms do not like Trump and presumably this is just another of their barely concealed attacks on what they call the right.

    The funny thing to me is that the accusers are often to be seen/heard mocking the very same people for being stupid. So stupid that they get their elegant and simple message that we DO NOT WANT TO BE RULED BY LEFTY EXPERTS out into the world effectively enough to regularly win elections.

    It doesn’t stop them trying though, and it is this that we have to pay attention to, since we know what happens when they gain control of a particular aspect of life, they traduce it to breaking point. Man’s greatest achievement is being destroyed before it has really got going by the people that think they know best, simply because they do not think.

  3. András Kühn Avatar
    András Kühn

    You’d think there were enough real fake people around…

  4. J Kenrick Bernard Avatar
    J Kenrick Bernard

    That’s offensive