fake videos accessible to all

fake videos accessible to all

Pornographic deepfakes are flourishing on the web, to the point where sites and apps specialize in this type of content. The worst thing is that the tools to create these fake videos are becoming accessible to everyone…

Technological advances are great, but they inevitably lead to all kinds of abuses. This is the case with deepfakes, images – photos or videos – which use artificial intelligence to superimpose a face on another face – and therefore reproduce “fake” people. If they are used in the world of cinema – actress Carrie Fisher was thus able to “reprise” her role of Princess Leia in Star Wars IX despite his death – and can be entertaining – as on the Snapchat application – they can also be used for malicious purposes, to the point of becoming a real danger on the Internet. However, as deepfakes are capable of making anyone say or do anything, they are sometimes used for pornographic purposes, tarnishing the image of people whose identity has been stolen, who have no obviously not given their consent. And the traffic to sites that host these types of videos continues to increase. Worse still, applications allowing this kind of editing do not hesitate to advertise on social networks, as noted by NBC News.

Pornographic deepfake: ads on Facebook

A journalist had the displeasure to find on Facebook an advertisement for the FaceMega application featuring a person with the face of Emma Watson. She looks at the camera with a mischievous air before bending down in front of the person who is filming. The video stops here, but it leaves no doubt about the sequence of events. And even if it is never stated explicitly, the slogan “Insert any face in the video” coupled with the images is unequivocal: it is an application for creating pornographic deepfakes. In addition, some ads even allow themselves to use the intro sound of famous videos posted on Pornhub….

According to the NBC investigation, no less than 230 such advertisements were broadcast on Meta’s social networks during the weekend of March 4 and 5. Even if FaceMega offers “innocent” templates (models with modifiable elements), with ‘Fashion’, ‘TikTok’ or ‘Wedding’ categories for example, the ‘Hot’ category allows you to have fun. It features videos of scantily clad women and men dancing and striking suggestive poses.After selecting a model or uploading their own video, users can grab a simple photo of anyone’s face and receive in seconds a version of the video in which the face has been modified. And in other words, it is this function that has the most success! A 2019 study estimates that the share of pornographic montages in the middle of deepfakes is 96%.

“This could be used with public school high school students who are being bullied”warns journalist Lauren Barton, who reported the ad on Twitter. “It could ruin someone’s life. They could get in trouble at work. And it’s extremely easy to do and free. All I had to do was upload a picture of my face and I got access to 50 free templates.” The application has been available on the Play Store and App Store since 2022. Initially, it allowed creating deepfakes for free, but now you have to pay $8 per week. However, it stipulates in its general user conditions that it can be used by children from the age of 9 and that it does not authorize the publication of pornographic videos.

Deepfake porn: an explosion of practice

FaceMega has since been removed from both app stores, but that’s just one example of many. According to independent analyst Genevieve Oh, the number of pornographic deepfakes on the Internet has doubled since 2018. For its part, Pornhub has decided to ban deepfakes from 2018. To do this, the platform uses an AI that reviews uploaded videos. line. The problem is that some content is so well done that it slips through the cracks. Worse still, paid sites specializing in deepfake pornography have sprung up. Genevieve Oh found in her analytics that traffic to these websites has skyrocketed in recent weeks, but the problem was there before, it’s only getting bigger. In 2021, the media Wired had discovered a major deepfake site – whose name we will keep silent – ​​designed specifically to generate false photographs of an erotic or pornographic nature. Between January and October 2021, it had received more than 50 million visitors! Restrictions have since reduced its attendance, but in the meantime it has developed a real business plan to expand via other partner sites.

In the wrong hands, these kinds of apps can wreak havoc. © CCM

A few weeks ago, a major scandal rocked the Twitch platform. Indeed, in January 2023, streamer Atrioc had shared his screen live and, in one of his tabs, pornographic deepfakes featured famous female streamers like Pokimane and Higa. One can imagine the feeling of horror and humiliation that these women must have felt when they saw themselves subjected to such videos. Since then, Twitch has tightened its policy and announced the implementation of immediate sanctions as soon as the first infringement is found that goes against these rules. But again, this is just one example, a drop in a vast ocean. And that’s not counting forums or private rooms like Telegram or Discord, where people exchange deepfake content at all costs, without any control. To make matters worse, this technology is still too little recognized on the legal side. In France, deepfake is currently not specified in any law and therefore benefits from a gray area of ​​legislation. Until when ?