February 25, 2024

A series of AI-generated images of Taylor Swift in suggestive and pornographic situations are causing an uproar on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. Though some of the images have been taken down, others remain on the platform. Swift’s army of fans have embarked on a campaign to bury the images by flooding the platform with their responses.

At least one of the images stayed online for 17 hours, racking up 45 million views and hundreds of thousands of likes, reposts, and bookmarks before X banned the account that shared the original image. The term “Taylor Swift AI” is trending on X across the globe.

404 Media reports that the images originated in a Telegram group dedicated to non-consensual deepfakes and otherwise abusive images of women. Members of the group, known for generating images using a text-to-image AI generator in Microsoft Designer, reportedly joked and celebrated about the deepfakes going viral. Alex Kaplan, a researcher at the nonprofit Media Matters for America, tweeted that AI-generated pornographic images of Taylor Swift have been making the rounds on 4chan for months.

“Our Code of Conduct prohibits the use of our tools for the creation of adult or non-consensual intimate content, and any repeated attempts to produce content that goes against our policies may result in loss of access to the service,” a Microsoft spokesperson said. “We have large teams working on the development of guardrails and other safety systems in line with our responsible AI principles, including content filtering, operational monitoring and abuse detection to mitigate misuse of the system”

Swift hasn’t spoken publicly about the deepfakes, but a Daily Mail report says the pop star isn’t happy. X and representatives for Swift did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Swift stans jumped to action to protect their icon. Swifties mobilized to mass report accounts sharing the AI deepfakes, including one account with over 480,000 followers that was subsequently banned by X. Fans posted thousands of banal images using related phrases and hashtags such as “Taylor Swift AI,” mounting a “Protect Taylor Swift” campaign to make the original images difficult to find.

Elon Musk’s X has policies against non-consensual nudity and synthetic and manipulated media that prohibit content like the abusive images of Swift, but her supporters have criticized the company for being slow to act.

Update, Jan. 26th, 2024 12:04 p.m.: This story has been updated with comments from Microsoft and a note about coverage of Swift’s reaction to the issue.