Controversial social media platform X temporarily blocks terms related to Taylor Swift following the widespread circulation of explicit deepfakes of the singer, amidst increased scrutiny of X’s content moderation policies.
Following the viral spread of explicit, AI-generated images featuring pop sensation Taylor Swift, the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, has temporarily disabled related searches for the singer on its platform.
Users attempting to search for Swift were confronted with an error message that recommended they try reloading. This action was taken, according to a released statement from X, “with an abundance of caution as we prioritize safety on this issue.”
The explicit content, which was recently alarmingly ubiquitous online, was live on X for nearly 19 hours before swift action led to the suspension of the account responsible for the posts. Yet, this significant duration, coupled with the nature of the images, triggered widespread outrage from not only Swift’s loyal supporters but also from concerned netizens who condemned the “violently misogynist” character of the AI creations.
X, which responded nearly a day later, announced its proactive efforts in “actively removing all identified images” and imposing penalties on accounts implicated in circulating the offensive visuals.
Ever since billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk acquired X, renaming the erstwhile Twitter, the platform has faced amplified scrutiny pertaining to its revised content moderation policies. These changes have already triggered unease among many advertisers, leading to a pull-out over concerns about their ads featured alongside contentious posts.
Refashioning their guidelines, X, in concert with CEO Linda Yaccarino, propagated a “freedom of speech, not reach” policy. This initiative curtails the spread of certain posts without outright deleting them.
Regrettably, explicit, false depictions of Swift found their way to other platforms, notably Facebook and Reddit. Online searches for Swift on Instagram, owned by Meta, yielded zero results, offering instead a message intimating the association of such search terms with the activities of perilous organizations and individuals.
Meta spokespersons affirmed their vigilance, stating, “We’re continuing to monitor, and if we identify any additional violating content, we’ll remove it and take appropriate action.”
Deepfakes, especially those of an explicit nature, have come under fire. Karine Jean-Pierre, White House press secretary, described the incident as “alarming” and added that social media firms must execute their responsibilities to curb the proliferation of such content on their platforms. The incident starkly highlights the rising threat posed by deepfake technology, emphasizing the urgent need for stringent checks and balances in the digital sphere.