AI's Latest Transgression: Fake Nudes of Taylor Swift

Pop star is just one victim of sexually explicit deepfakes, which show the lack of safeguards
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2024 10:08 AM CST
Fake Nudes of Taylor Swift Show Lack of AI Safeguards
Taylor Swift enters Arrowhead Stadium before the start of an NFL game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals, Dec. 31, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo.   (AP Photo/Ed Zurga, File)

Taylor Swift has had a massive impact on the cultural landscape. Now, she could potentially play a role in forming federal law, though without her consent. The superstar songwriter found herself the focus of calls for US lawmakers to crack down on AI-driven deepfakes this week as fake pornographic images of her spread online. One image shared on X was viewed 45 million times and reposted 24,000 times over 17 hours before the account that posted it was removed, the Verge reports. Earlier this month, an AI version of Swift appeared in ads peddling Le Creuset cookware, as the New York Times reports. But the sexually explicit images took matters to another level.

The images first appeared in a Telegram channel "dedicated to abusive images of women," per 404 Media. Cybersecurity company Reality Defender said with 90% certainty that the images had been created using an AI diffusion model, per the Times. These models have been used to create various fake images and videos, including sexually explicit images of high school students. The fake images of Swift spread rapidly from Telegram despite platforms working to remove them. Criticizing the slow response, Swift fans flooded X attempting to drown out the fakes. Noting non-celebrities have also been affected, Rep. Yvette Clarke of New York said "this is an issue both sides of the aisle & even Swifties should be able to come together to solve," per the Hill.

Last May, Rep. Joseph Morelle, another New York Democrat, introduced a bill that would make it a federal crime to distribute explicit digital depictions, though it has not been debated. "It is clear that AI technology is advancing faster than the necessary guardrails," Republican Rep. Tom Kean Jr., who co-signed Morelle's bill, said Thursday, per the Guardian. "Whether the victim is Taylor Swift or any young person across our country, we need to establish safeguards to combat this alarming trend." Proposed laws in various states also target deepfakes used in political disinformation campaigns. As NBC News reports, a digital manipulation of President Biden's voice was just used in a robocall asking Democrats not to vote in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary. (More Taylor Swift stories.)

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