‘Disgusting’ explicit Taylor Swift AI images circulated on X/Twitter despite platform rules

Pornographic deepfakes of the pop star were reportedly live on the social media platform for 19 hours before the account that posted the images was suspended

Tom Murray
Saturday 27 January 2024 09:16 GMT
White House addresses fake sexually explicit AI images of Taylor Swift

Pornographic deepfake images of Taylor Swift were widely circulated on Twitter/X this week, despite the platform’s rules against such media.

The nonconsensual images, which appear to have been made using AI, showed the pop star in sexually suggestive and explicit positions.

US media reports that some posts sharing the images amassed more than 27 million views and 260,000 likes in 19 hours, before the account that posted the images was suspended.

On its website, X’s policy states: “You may not share synthetic, manipulated, or out-of-context media that may deceive or confuse people and lead to harm (’misleading media’).”

The Independent has contacted representatives for X and Swift for comment.

The offensive images and the length of time it took to have them removed spawned fury from Swift’s fans and others who have expressed alarm at the “violently misogynist” nature of the pictures.

Taylor Swift arrives for the 81st annual Golden Globe Awards (AFP via Getty Images)

“This is a prime example of the ways in which AI is being unleashed for a lot of nefarious reasons without enough guardrails in place to protect the public square,” Ben Decker, who runs Memetica, a digital investigations agency, told CNN.

“The social media companies don’t really have effective plans in place to necessarily monitor the content,” he added.

The images were also circulated on other social media platforms including Reddit and Facebook.

A spokesperson for Meta, Facebook’s parent company, said: “This content violates our policies and we’re removing it from our platforms and taking action against accounts that posted it.

“We’re continuing to monitor and if we identify any additional violating content we’ll remove it and take appropriate action.”

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Citing a source close to Swift, the Mail further reports that the “Anti-Hero” singer is considering legal action against the deepfake porn site that hosted the images.

Earlier this year, TikTok said that all deepfakes or manipulated content that show realistic scenes must be labelled to indicate they’re fake or altered and that deepfakes of private figures and young people are no longer allowed.

Meta, as well as adult sites like OnlyFans and Pornhub, also participated in an online tool, called Take It Down, that allows people to report explicit images and videos of themselves from the internet.

Porn created using the technology now makes up for more than 90 per cent of deepfakes circulating online, according to fraud-detecting firm Sensity AI.

Police and prosecutors were given more power to hold perpetrators to account under an amendment to the Online Safety Bill in October last year with the distributors of deepfakes now potentially facing prison time under the suggested measures.

The images of Swift were shared in the same week that a man was arrested twice in three days after stalking the pop star near her home in New York City.

The man, David Crowe, of Seattle, was charged by the police with two counts of harassment and two counts of stalking, after neighbours and a security guard raised the alarm after spotting him near Swift’s residence.

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