Taylor Swift deepfakes inspire a call for legislation
Explicit deepfaked images of Taylor Swift were shared and viewed millions of times on social media over the weekend. The AI-generated pictures were shared across the platforms X, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit and Telegram. Legislators have since called upon Congress to tighten laws around the creation and sharing of explicit fake images and videos.
X made a statement that it was “actively removing” the images and taking “appropriate actions” against the accounts involved in spreading them.
However, politicians say that those actions do not go far enough. US Representative Joe Morelle called the sharing of the images “appalling”.
Most of the images were apparently removed immediately after publication. However, one image was able to be viewed a staggering 47 million times before being taken down.
The platform formerly known as Twitter has also disabled any searches that include the words “Taylor Swift” and “AI”.
New laws needed
There are currently no laws in the US that forbid the creation or sharing of deepfaked material. However, other countries, such as the UK, have successfully created legislation to prevent deepfaked pornography as part of online safety acts.
Morelle called for immediate action, saying that the images and videos “cause irrevocable emotional, financial, and reputational harm – and unfortunately, women are disproportionately impacted”.
Swift herself has not made any public statements regarding the images. However, according to The Daily Mail, her team is “considering legal action” against the site which published the images.
The growing issue of deepfakes
Deepfakes have been a growing issue over the past year or so, with several celebrities finding themselves victims. Last year both Tom Hanks and Scarlett Johansson found their images being faked without their knowledge or consent.
For Hanks, it was a more innocent dental advertisement. For women, a darker story emerges where it is more common to find them placed in pornographic situations.
Even the Pope found himself the target of AI fake images when he was depicted wearing a white puffer jacket. The image quickly went viral, and the Pope himself addressed the urgency of the problem in his address last week.
Of course, it’s not just celebrities who are finding themselves in compromising and fake positions. The real potential for deepfakes to cause havoc is in the political world. With around sixty different countries expecting major political elections this year, this issue is serious and needs to be placed top of the agenda.
Image credit: Eva Rinaldi
[via BBC news]
Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe