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Taylor Swift fans scammed by fake AI-generated endorsement for Le Creuset cookware

Deepfake ad showed an AI-generated Swift saying she was ‘thrilled’ to be handing out free cookware sets

Meredith Clark
New York
Tuesday 09 January 2024 18:35 GMT
Related: Instagram launches Kendall Jenner AI chatbot

Taylor Swift is not handing out free Le Creuset cookware sets, despite what one fake ad recently told the singer’s fans - aka “Swifties”.

According to a report from The New York Times published on 9 January, Swifities were scammed by a fake endorsement generated by artificial intelligence using the Grammy winner’s voice and likeness. The fake endorsement, which reportedly appeared in ads on Facebook, showed an AI-generated Swift addressing her “Swifties” and saying she was “thrilled” to be handing out the free cookware sets.

In several ads, footage of Swift was displayed alongside images of dutch ovens from the French-Belgian brand, which can cost anywhere from $180 to $750. The deepfake Swift urged viewers to click a button and answer a few questions before the end of the day. The ad then sent people to websites mimicking outlets such as the Food Network, highlighting news coverage of Le Creuset alongside testimonials from fake customers, the New York Times reported.

Participants were asked to pay a “small shipping fee of $9.96” for the cookware, but according to the outlet, those who gave their personal information never received the Le Creuset cookware and faced hidden monthly charges instead.

Perhaps fans were fooled by the AI-generated ad due to Swift’s longtime affinity for the luxury cookware brand. Swift has been known to have the Round Dutch Oven, the Demi Tea Kettle, and the Cast Iron Skillet all stocked in her kitchen, according to a Facebook post from 2014. However, a representative for Le Creuset told the New York Times it has no partnership with the singer and urged customers to shop for their products on its official accounts or website.

The Independent has contacted representatives for Swift for comment.

This isn’t the first time that an AI-generated ad has used a celebrity’s likeness to peddle a certain product. Last October, Oscar winner Tom Hanks warned his fans not to be scammed by an AI-generated version of himself promoting a dental plan. In a clip posted to his Instagram, the Forrest Gump star told his fans that he had “nothing to do” with the ad created by AI.

“BEWARE!! There’s a video out there promoting some dental plan with an AI version of me. I have nothing to do with it,” he captioned a photo of the AI version of himself.

Meanwhile, actor Scarlett Johansson has previously taken legal action against an online app that allegedly used her name and likeness to promote their services without her permission. The AI image-generating app, called Lisa AI: 90s Yearbook & Avatar, reportedly used Johansson’s likeness to read out a 22-second advertisement.

“What’s up guys? It’s Scarlett and I want you to come with me,” Johansson reportedly says in the ad, before her mouth is covered by a graphic and AI-generated photos of the actor appear on screen. “It’s not limited to avatars only. You can also create images with texts and even your AI videos. I think you shouldn’t miss it,” the AI-version of Johansson’s voice said.

Underneath the advertisement, a line reads: “Images produced by Lisa AI. It has nothing to do with this person.”

The Marvel actor’s representative confirmed to Variety that Johansson is not a spokesperson for the app and did not permit them to use her image. “We do not take these things lightly. Per our usual course of action in these circumstances, we will deal with it with all legal remedies that we will have,” Johansson’s lawyer, Kevin Yorn, told the publication.

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