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Black voters targeted with fake AI images by Trump supporters

Supporters of Donald Trump have created and distributed artificial intelligence (AI)-generated fake images of black voters to sway African Americans to vote Republican. Many deep fakes depicting black people as supporters of the former president were found by BBC Panorama.

Open courtship of black voters by Mr. Trump was important in Joe Biden's election victory in 2020.

However, there isn't any proof that these pictures are associated with Mr. Trump's campaign.
The co-founder of Black Voters Matter, a nonprofit organisation that supports black voters, claims that the altered images were promoting a "strategic narrative" that was intended to show Mr. Trump as popular in the black community.

The person who created one of the photographs told the BBC, "I'm not claiming it's accurate." Ahead of the US presidential election in November, one of the new disinformation trends is the artificial intelligence (AI)-generated phoney photos of black Trump fans.

In contrast to evidence of foreign influence campaigns in 2016, the AI-generated images discovered by the BBC seem to have been created and disseminated by US voters.

Among them were Mark Kaye and his group at a Florida-based conservative radio program. They created an image of Mr. Trump around a bunch of black women at a party while smiling, and they shared it on Facebook, where Mr. Kaye has more than a million followers. Upon closer inspection, you will notice that everyone has somewhat too glossy skin, and some people have missing digits on their hands—clear indicators of artificial intelligence imaging.

Mr. Kaye informs me from his radio station, "I'm not a photojournalist. I'm not capturing images of actual events with my camera. I tell stories."

In an article he authored about black voters supporting Mr. Trump, he used this image to give the impression that these people are supporting the former president's presidential campaign in unison. Several Facebook commenters seemed to think the AI image was authentic.

"I'm not claiming it is accurate. I'm not saying, 'Hey, look, Donald Trump was at this party with all of these African American voters. Look how much they love him!'" he stated.

"If anybody's voting one way or another because of one photo they see on a Facebook page, that's a problem with that person, not with the post itself."

A second widely seen AI image uncovered during the BBC investigation shows Mr. Trump standing alongside African American voters on a front porch. It didn't become popular until it was reshared with a new caption that purportedly stated that he had pulled over to greet these people. The original post was by a satirical account that creates photos of the former president.

We identified Shaggy, the account's creator, as a devoted Trump supporter residing in Michigan. "Thousands of wonderful kind-hearted Christian followers have been drawn to [my posts]," he claimed in comments provided to the BBC via social media.

He blocked me when I attempted to ask him questions about the AI-generated image. Over 1.3 million people have viewed his message, according to social media platform X. While several individuals pointed this out, others appeared to think the image was authentic.

Similar Photoshopped photos of Joe Biden with voters belonging to a specific group were not what I found. President Obama's AI photos typically show him either by himself or among other international leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin or former US President Barack Obama. Critics produce some, while supporters construct others.

In January, the Democratic contender was duped by an AI-generated phony. A pre-recorded voicemail ostensibly from the president encouraged listeners to forgo the presidential primary in New Hampshire. Acknowledging responsibility, a supporter of the Democratic Party stated that he wished to highlight the possibility of technology abuse.

Black Voters Matter co-founder Cliff Albright claimed that similar to the 2020 election, there seemed to be a return of disinformation strategies aimed at the black community. "There have been documented attempts to target disinformation to black communities again, especially younger black voters," he said.


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