Fake Taylor Gone Wrong?

Internet divided as White House urges legislation after ‘alarming’ Taylor Swift deepfakes

Explicit AI-generated images of pop singer garnered tens of millions of views on microblogging platform X

In a press briefing on Friday, the White House expressed deep concern over the alarming surge of fake explicit images featuring pop singer Taylor Swift circulating on various social media platforms. The administration emphasised the pivotal role that social media companies must play in enforcing their own rules to curb the dissemination of such misleading content, as reported by Sky News.

The distressing revelation comes after sexually explicit images falsely attributed to Swift gained widespread traction throughout the week, with one particularly graphic image reportedly garnering 47 million views on X, formerly known as Twitter, before the account responsible was suspended.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed the issue during the news briefing, stating, “This is very alarming. And so, we’re going to do what we can to deal with this issue.” Jean-Pierre further urged Congress to take legislative action to address the concerning rise of manipulated content, possibly generated by artificial intelligence (AI). She emphasised that lax enforcement against false images, particularly those potentially created through AI, disproportionately affects women.

“So while social media companies make their own independent decisions about content management, we believe they have an important role to play in enforcing their own rules to prevent the spread of misinformation and non-consensual, intimate imagery of real people,” Jean-Pierre declared.

The White House’s call for legislative action reflects a growing recognition of the need to address the challenges posed by the misuse of technology and the potential harm it can inflict on individuals, especially in the realm of misinformation and manipulated content.

While many are applauding the prompt response to the concerning issue of explicit deepfakes, others are pointing out a selective concern for women’s well-being. One post posed the query, “I wonder why this issue wasn’t important to people until it happened to Taylor. [We] should already have strict policies against these AI crimes.”

As per another critic, “I’m happy they’re taking action but it should not have taken a famous white woman to do that. Xochitl Gomez shared a story weeks prior about this and she’s literally a minor. Civilian women have been bringing this up for months.”

The White House’s statement has also prompted parallels between Swift’s deepfakes and the plight of Palestinian women under Israel’s occupation, with the latter receiving little recognition as a women’s rights issue.

“Margot Robbie doesn’t get an Oscar and Hilary Clinton cries on the internet. Taylor Swift gets harassed and The White House puts out a statement. Palestinians die every day and that is when they lose their capability to have remorse. America is a joke,” one X user penned harshly.

Others pointed out the need to recognise Swift’s influence, slamming fans who insist her call for a ceasefire would yield nothing. One user remarked, “I like how she’s mobilised The White House over this (which isn’t a bad thing by any means) and people are still acting like it’s not fair to be mad that she hasn’t bothered to even call for a ceasefire or that her doing so would be pointless.”

Another post chimed in with similar sentiments, “‘Why do you care if celebrities speak about Palestine or not’ because some of them have this kind of influence.” “The amount of action that would be taken if Taylor Swift just says the words ‘free Palestine,’” commented another X user.

Further highlighting the drastic conditions facing Palestinian women and children, one user asserted, “Women in Gaza are currently using tent scraps for period products. They’re having miscarriages due to stress and anxiety. They’re undergoing C-Sections without anesthesia. But sure let’s talk about a white celebrity instead and ignore thousands of women and children being killed.”


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