Publication date February 5, 2024

Taylor Swift AI Pictures Viral On X: The Ongoing Battle Against Deepfakes

Recently, AI-generated images depicting Taylor Swift in sexually suggestive scenarios have gone viral on social media platform X. This incident highlights the ongoing challenge of tackling deepfake pornography and its rapid spread online. 

One post alone on X garnered more than 45 million views, 24,000 reposts, and hundreds of thousands of likes and bookmarks before the verified user who shared the images had their account suspended for violating platform policy. The post was live on the platform for around 17 hours before its removal.

But as users started to discuss the viral post, the images began to spread and were reposted across other accounts too. Many remain up, and a deluge of new graphic fakes have since appeared. In some regions, the term “Taylor Swift AI” became a trending topic, promoting the images to wider audiences.

How Taylor’s AI Pictures Were Created?

According to the Hollywood Reporter, 404 has said that Swift’s Pictures are not a result of superimposing her face over another image but were instead created with a commercially available Microsoft AI image generation tool. The image generator is called Designer. 

A report from 404 Media discovered that the images may have originated in a group on Telegram, where users share explicit AI-generated images of women often made with Microsoft Designer. Users in the group joked about how the images of Swift went viral on X. 

On Monday, 404 Media stated the loopholes had been addressed. Microsoft Responsible AI Engineering Lead Sarah Bird confirmed the changes, saying, “We are committed to providing a safe and respectful experience for everyone. We are continuing to investigate these images and have strengthened our existing safety systems to further prevent our services from being misused to help generate images like them.”

X policy

Source: Twitter

X’s policies related to synthetic and manipulated media and nonconsensual nudity explicitly ban this kind of content from being hosted on the platform. X posted the following public statement almost a day after the incident began, but without mentioning the Swift images specifically.

Fans Reaction to Taylor Swift AI Pictures

Swift’s fan base has heavily criticized X for allowing many of the posts to remain live for as long as they have. In response, fans have responded by flooding hashtags used to circulate the images with messages that promote real clips of Swift performing to hide the explicit fakes.

Jhonny' s tweet

Honestly, this incident demonstrates the very real challenge of stopping deepfake porn and AI-generated images of real people. While some AI image generators have restrictions in place that prevent nude, pornographic, and photorealistic images of celebrities from being produced, many others do not explicitly offer such a service. 

The responsibility of preventing fake images from going viral often falls to social platforms,  something that can be difficult to do under the best of circumstances and even harder for a giant company like X that has hollowed out its moderation capabilities.

X is currently being investigated by the EU regarding claims that it’s being used to “disseminate illegal content and disinformation” and is reportedly being questioned regarding its crisis protocols after misinformation about the Israel-Hamas war was found being promoted across the platform.

Taylor Swift's Statement About her AI Images

Though Tailor Swift has not yet publicly commented on the scandal, her loyal fans were quick to flood X, formerly known as Twitter, with positive posts about her in an attempt to combat the spreading of inappropriate images.

Taylor Swift fan tweet

If media reports are to be believed, the singer is 'furious' over the AI-generated photos of her circulating social media and she is considering taking legal action after the graphic images from NSFW websites went viral this week. 

Whether or not legal action will be taken is being decided, the controversy reignited conversations about artificial intelligence and the need for more oversight, especially as the creation of AI images continues to overwhelmingly affect women and children.

New York Rep. Joe Morelle said,  “The spread of AI-generated explicit images of Taylor Swift is appalling — and sadly, it’s happening to women everywhere, every day.”

“It’s sexual exploitation,” he added, before touting his proposed Preventing Deepfakes of Intimate Images Act, a bill that will make it illegal to share deepfake pornography without the consent of individuals being portrayed.


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