Blog Business Entertainment Environment Health Latest News Lifestyle News Analysis Opinion Science Sports Technology Videos World
Deepfakes, Revenge Porn and Social Media: The Role Of Technology In Sexual Abuse

Deepfakes may sound like a buzzword, but they represent an impressive and creative leap in technology. Using AI manipulations to realistically render someone's likeness onto another person, this technology has been employed to insert Donald Trump into SNL (Saturday Night Live) sketches, humorously poking fun at him, and creating movable and performing avatars of ABBA.


However, recently, this technology has been exploited for more harmful and sinister projects, including the creation of explicit deepfake images of Taylor Swift that circulated on social media sites X (formerly Twitter) and Telegram. Congress Representative Morelle, who first proposed legislation to combat the creation and dissemination of explicit and intimate deepfake images in May 2023, condemned the act as ‘sexual exploitation’.


deepfake tweet


 


While some may perceive these incidents as jest, deepfake images of this nature have been a pervasive issue for many years.


Currently, there are no laws preventing their creation or dissemination. As the technology to create them becomes cheaper and more widely available, more explicit, cruel, and humiliating images are being produced and circulated. The lack of consent in these images is one of the most significant concerns, as they are created and used in private, even if shared with millions on the internet. Often, this sharing occurs on private servers or among trusted groups of individuals.


However, social media and technology have drastically changed and blurred the lines around sexual assault and harassment in various ways. We have witnessed the rise of revenge porn, upskirting, unsolicited explicit pictures, and the sharing of intimate images. Phones and social media have created a whole new landscape for these cruel and violating actions to take place, and we are still learning how to prosecute and protect ourselves properly. As the law lags behind, innocent individuals fall prey to these disturbing acts and receive no proper justice or closure.


If you aren’t a celebrity, like Taylor Swift, it can take days for explicit images to be removed from social media sites. Even then, they may still find a way to circulate and be saved on individual phones.


Despite revenge porn the act of sharing explicit images of another person without their consent with the aim of causing distress or harm finally being a criminal offence in the UK, recent cases show that it is not taken as seriously as other sexual offences are. Reality star, Stephan Bear, shared an intimate video of him and his ex-girlfriend on the site OnlyFans and was sentenced to 21 months for his crimes, yet served less than 11 months of his sentence before his release.


Platforms like OnlyFans allow for the posting of nonconsensual videos and pictures and, furthermore, allow those who exploit and post this content to generate an income from it. Bear supposedly made over £20,000 from subscriptions by viewers and bragged about these earnings too.


Beyond the acts themselves, this new wave of sexual abuse destroys lives. Similar to other more widely known forms of assault, internet-based abuse is just as damaging, and its lack of justice or prosecution can have significant effects on the victims. As Lisa Durston, a representative for SARSAS, a Rape Crisis Centre, in the South West of England, points out, “Like all forms of gender-based violence, nonconsensual deepfake pornography, and other image-based abuse can have a devastating and long-lasting impact on those who experience it, affecting their mental and emotional health, social life and relationships.” The unbridled misogyny that drives individuals to commit these abusive acts also fuels notions of victim-blaming and so-called ‘slut-shaming’.


womens march


With such images circulating, it can affect victims' job opportunities, personal relationships, as well as their health and social lives.


“It may feel like the abuse is being repeated over and over again as it is so difficult to permanently remove images from the online world once they are out there,” Durston explains. These acts can create fear and anxiety in individuals. “Many survivors live with the fear that the images may still be out in the public domain and wonder who has and hasn’t seen them. This can be profoundly traumatic and stop them from living their lives in the way they would have done before.”


The abuse starts somewhere, and the platforming of misogynists and sexist individuals, such as Andrew Tate, a convicted rapist and trafficker, spreads hateful and violent views that serve as the foundation for a society in which gender-based violence continues to be an issue. Tate is not the only individual disseminating this barbaric ideology many others, typically men, create podcasts and communities in which to share such ideas. Spend any time on the ‘wrong’ side of TikTok or Instagram, and you will be privy to notions such as the idea that women who have had multiple sexual partners are ‘ran through’ or ‘ruined’. The lack of regulation around such discourse allows these individuals to spout hate and makes it accessible to the masses, including young, impressionable boys.


While laws are changing, they quickly become outdated as technology continues to evolve. ‘We welcome the UK’s new Online Safety Bill, which makes it illegal to share this kind of harmful material, but we know that this alone, will not address the prevalence of the issue,’ says Lisa on behalf of SARSAS.


She adds, ‘We would like to see the tech industry held to account on their responsibility to prevent image-based abuse and for this issue to be taken seriously, both in society and in the criminal justice system.’


While social media can be blamed for the inception of this new form of gender-based abuse and violence, the root of the problem continues to be rampant misogynistic ideas in society. ‘Good education around consent, healthy relationships and misogyny in schools would help tackle some of the problematic beliefs that perpetuate the beliefs and attitudes that allow this form of abuse to thrive,’ says Durston.


In the interim of this societal change, Lisa points out the need to treat victims properly. ‘As with all forms of gender-based violence, survivors must know that they will be believed, taken seriously and supported, whether they choose to report or not.’


 


If you have been affected by this story or any form of sexual abuse, support and resources are available here.


 


Share This Post On

Tags: #feminism #AI #Sexualassault #deepfake #womensrights #misogyny



0 comments

Leave a comment


You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in
Thesocialtalks.com is a Global Media House Initiative by Socialnetic Infotainment Private Limited.

TheSocialTalks was founded in 2020 as an alternative to mainstream media which is fraught with misinformation, disinformation and propaganda. We have a strong dedication to publishing authentic news that abides by the principles and ethics of journalism. We are an organisation driven by a passion for truth and justice in society.

Our team of journalists and editors from all over the world work relentlessly to deliver real stories affecting our society. To keep our operations running, We need sponsors and subscribers to our news portal. Kindly sponsor or subscribe to make it possible for us to give free access to our portal and it will help writers and our cause. It will go a long way in running our operations and publishing real news and stories about issues affecting us.

Your contributions help us to expand our organisation, making our news accessible to more everyone and deepening our impact on the media.

Support fearless and fair journalism today.


Related