AI Explained

Jun 1, 2024

Nonconsensual Deepfake Pornography: A Growing Concern in the Age of AI

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In recent years, the world has witnessed a surge in the creation and dissemination of nonconsensual deepfake pornography. This manipulated and manufactured content that is not only morally reprehensible, but legally problematic. Proliferation of this type of material has sparked widespread concern among governments, law enforcement agencies, and civil society organizations, as it poses significant threats to individuals' privacy, dignity, and safety.

For the uninitiated, deepfakes are AI-generated videos or images that use machine learning algorithms to manipulate footage or photos in such a way that the resulting content appears authentic. In the case of nonconsensual deepfake pornography, creators utilize face recognition and mapping technology, deep learning models, and face-swapping techniques to superimpose the likeness of their victims onto the bodies of performers in explicit videos.

The Deepfake Abuse of Women

The disturbing reality is that the majority of these videos are created without the consent or knowledge of the individuals whose likenesses are being used. The ease with which this content can be created has led to 98% of all deepfake videos online being pornographic in nature, while an astonishing 99% of people victimized by deepfake pornography are women.

The speed and affordability at which these videos can be produced have also contributed significantly to their widespread dissemination. A 60-second deepfake pornographic video can now be created in minutes with a budget of zero dollars — all using just one clear face image. This level of accessibility has made it increasingly challenging for authorities to keep pace with the spread of this content.

Legislation is Lacking

The lack of legislative action from governments around the world is particularly alarming. While some states in the U.S. have taken steps to outlaw the creation and distribution of deepfake pornography, most countries have failed to enact legislation specifically targeting this type of material.

As a result, creators of deepfake pornography have gone largely unpunished and unbothered in their activities. The impunity with which they operate has allowed the proliferation of this content to continue unabated, leaving countless individuals vulnerable to emotional distress, reputational damage, and even physical harm.

In response to the growing concern surrounding nonconsensual deepfake pornography, it is essential that governments, law enforcement agencies, and social media companies take proactive measures to combat its spread. One such method is the adoption of proactive scanning measures by websites hosting explicit content using deepfake detection tools like Reality Defender. These tools can be used to flag and remove deepfake videos and images at the upload point, well before they have a chance to spread. Social media companies and law enforcement agencies can utilize these same measures to identify deepfake videos on other platforms. 

The sheer scale of this problem cannot be overstated. Since the inception of deepfake technology, millions of  deepfake pornography videos have been uploaded online. It is clear that the current moderation measures employed by platforms where these videos spread are failing. The time has come for governments and companies to take decisive action to address this issue and prevent further abuse of individuals who, as of now, have little if no methods of thwarting abuse. 

After all, the proliferation of nonconsesnual deepfake pornography is a symptom of a larger problem – our society's failure to prioritize consent, privacy, and human dignity in the digital age. It is imperative that we work together to create a culture that values respect for individuals' autonomy and takes concrete steps to prevent the exploitation and harm caused by this type of content.

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