Taylor Swift Explicit Deepfake Images Spread Online, Sparking Outrage

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Taylor Swift 81st Annual Golden Globe Awards
Photo by Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency

On Wednesday, January 24, 2024, nonconsensual, sexually explicit deepfake images of Taylor Swift went viral on the social media platform X. The images, depicting Swift nude and engaged in sexual acts, garnered over 27 million views and more than 260,000 likes in just 19 hours before the account responsible for their posting was suspended.

Deepfakes, which use artificial intelligence (AI) tools to create fake images, continue to proliferate on X, including reposts of the viral Swift deepfake images. Some of these deepfakes use AI tools to “undress” real images, while others are entirely new creations.

7th Annual We Can Survive, Presented By AT&T, A RADIO.COM Event
Taylor Swift performs onstage during the 7th Annual We Can Survive, presented by AT&T, a RADIO.COM event, at The Hollywood Bowl on October 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for RADIO.COM )

The origin of the Swift deepfakes is unclear, but they bear a watermark from a website known for publishing fake nude images of celebrities. The website even has a section dedicated to “AI deepfake” images. Reality Defender, an AI-detection software company, analyzed the Swift images and found a high likelihood that they were created with AI technology.

This incident highlights the alarming spread of AI-generated content and misinformation online, and the need for tech platforms like X to address this issue. Despite recent concerns, X and other platforms that have developed generative-AI products have yet to deploy tools to detect generative-AI content that violates their guidelines.

The most viewed and shared Swift deepfakes depicted her nude in a football stadium, likely in response to her attendance at NFL games in support of her partner, Kansas City Chiefs player Travis Kelce. Swift has faced misogynistic attacks in the past for this and has even acknowledged them in interviews.

Taylor Swift The 1989 World Tour Live In Tokyo - Night 2
Taylor Swift performs during The 1989 World Tour at Tokyo Dome at Tokyo Dome on May 6, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Jun Sato/Getty Images for TS)

X has banned manipulated media that could cause harm against specific people but has been slow to address the issue of sexually explicit deepfakes. A 17-year-old Marvel star recently spoke out about finding sexually explicit deepfakes of herself on X and being unable to remove them. Even as of Thursday, such content was still present on the platform.

Some fans of Swift took matters into their own hands by launching a mass-reporting campaign to have the deepfakes removed from X. In response, the hashtags “Taylor Swift AI” and “Protect Taylor Swift” trended on X, with fans flooding the platform with positive posts about the artist.

This incident serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of deepfake technology and the need for social media platforms to take a more proactive role in combating their spread.


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Last update on 2024-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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