X reacts to Taylor Swift AI scandal by blocking related searches


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The social media platform X took measures to temporarily ban searches using the pop musician Taylor Swift’s name in response to sexually explicit artificial intelligence (AI) generated images of the singer going viral on the site. 

At the time of writing, if users search for the terms “Taylor Swift,” “Taylor Swift AI” or even “AI Taylor Swift,” no search results will appear.

Search result on X on Jan. 29 for “taylor swift.” Source: Cointelegraph
Search result on X on Jan. 29 for “taylor swift ai” Source: Cointelegraph

The move comes in response to a flood of fake images of the artist going viral online. While some of the images were harmless, the outrage was caused by the overwhelming amount of images with sexually explicit themes.

The image and video-sharing social media platform Instagram appears to have taken similar measures, adding disclaimers to searches for “Taylor Swift AI.”

Search result on Instagram on Jan. 29 for “taylor swift ai.” Source: Cointelegraph

It has been reported that Swift is considering legal action against the deepfake site that published the sexually explicit images. 

A few days prior, on Jan. 27, United States Representative Joseph Morelle spoke out in response to the viral images of Swift, calling for legislation to criminalize the production of deepfakes.

Morelle introduced the Preventing Deepfakes of Intimate Images Act in May 2023, which he authored to make non-consensual deepfakes a federal crime and called for urgent action on the issue.

In October 2023, U.S. senators proposed another bill that would punish makers of AI-generated deepfakes in general, not just those of sexually explicit or intimate content.

Related: US Department of Defense predicts ‘AI vs counter-AI battle’

Over the past year, the number of celebrities speaking out about deepfakes has dramatically increased. Data from SumSub shows a 10x increase in deep fakes across all industries globally from 2022 to 2023. 

In 2023, actor Tom Hanks, the popular YouTuber MrBeast and the American broadcast journalist Gayle King were all victims of viral AI-generated deepfakes of themselves selling products they did not endorse.

On Jan. 15, Michael Saylor, the executive chairman of MicroStrategy, said he has been removing nearly 80 deep fake videos of himself on a daily basis.

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