SAG-AFTRA deplored the AI-generated graphic images of Taylor Swift that went viral on X (formerly Twitter) this week, calling the content “upsetting, harmful, and deeply concerning” in a statement issued on Friday.
“The development and dissemination of fake images — especially those of a lewd nature — without someone’s consent must be made illegal,” the union said, while also calling support to Congressman Joe Morelle’s Preventing Deepfakes of Intimate Images Act to combat the practice. “As a society, we have it in our power to control these technologies, but we must act now before it is too late. We support Taylor, and women everywhere who are the victims of this kind of theft of their privacy and right to autonomy.”
The images spurred significant conversation online and on Capitol Hill this week about the need for more protections against artificial intelligence and content moderation. One the tweets with an AI-generated explicit image of the pop star remained on the platform for about 17 hours and garnered 45 million views before it was finally removed.
When asked about the incident during a press conference on Friday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called the images “alarming.” Jean-Pierre called upon social media companies to more strongly enforce content moderation policies and further said Congress should take action to pass protective legislation.
“We are alarmed by the reports of the circulation of images that you laid out, false images to be more exact,” Jean-Pierre said. “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 spreading of misinformation. Of course Congress should take legislative action. That’s how you deal with some of these issues.”
Swift is far from the only woman, famous or otherwise, to have been subjected to AI-generated explicit images of themselves without their permission. As Rolling Stone reported this week, while Swifties have been vocal in the need for more protections to prevent this from happening, such actions likely won’t come very easily.
AI deepfake porn is among the more disturbing uses of the technology to have hit prominent entertainment figures, though the tech’s also been used to create new material without artists’ permission. George Carlin’s estate for instance, filed a lawsuit this week over the unauthorized use of his works to make a new comedy special. The AI drake and the Weeknd song “Heart on My Sleeve” caused a significant stir last year as well, with UMG pressuring streaming platforms to take down infringing content that uses AI.
AI was one of the key negotiating points during SAG’s strike last year, and the union also gave its support the Human Artistry Campaign, an initiative from some of the most powerful music and entertainment groups in the world set on prioritizing human creativity and ensuring AI doesn’t outsource art.