Microsoft & X Make Changes Following X-Rated Taylor Swift Deepfakes

Microsoft & X Make Changes Following X-Rated Taylor Swift Deepfakes

Microsoft and X, formerly Twitter, have been forced into making sweeping changes to their businesses in response to the proliferation of AI-generated pornographic images of Taylor Swift.

Elon Musk, owner and chief technology officer of X, announced plans to hire 100 content moderators based in Austin, Texas before the end of the year following the spread of the images. These staff will sit in a “Trust and Safety centre of excellence”.

He is also set to appear in front of the US Senate tomorrow for a hearing on child sexual exploitation. X CEO Linda Yaccarino is also scheduled to testify, as are Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, and the CEOs of Snap, TikTok and Discord.

X had blocked searches for “Taylor Swift” on its platform and the episode attracted ire from the White House with press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre saying that the US government was “alarmed” at the spread of the images and called on Congress to enact legislation to stop it.

However, Microsoft also found itself drawn into the scandal after 404 Media revealed that its AI-powered text-to-image generation tool was being used to make nonconsensual sexual images of celebrities, including Taylor Swift.

“We are investigating these reports and are taking appropriate action to address them,” a Microsoft spokesperson told 404 Media in an email on Friday.

“Our Code of Conduct prohibits the use of our tools for the creation of adult or non-consensual intimate content, and any repeated attempts to produce content that goes against our policies may result in loss of access to the service. We have large teams working on the development of guardrails and other safety systems in line with our responsible AI principles, including content filtering, operational monitoring and abuse detection to mitigate misuse of the system and help create a safer environment for users.”

Following testing and searching messages shared by users on unmoderated platforms 4Chan and Telegram, 404 Media believes that the changes have worked, with users complaining that “It’s toast now. Ariana, Kylie Jenner, Lisa, Zendaya, etc. are all just showing generic girls now of similar looks/ethnicity”.

Using AI to quickly generate detailed images has become one of the technology’s major selling points, particularly for advertisers looking to create content at speed. However, in the wrong hands, those tools can be very damaging, not least when shared rapidly and widely on social media — making platforms unpleasant for users and disastrous for brand safety.

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