Congress Considers New Legislation in Response to Taylor Swift Deepfake Videos

US lawmakers are pushing for new legislation to criminalize the creation of deepfake images after digitally altered explicit photos of Taylor Swift went viral. The fake images, posted on social media platforms including X and Telegram, have sparked outrage and calls for urgent action.

The spread of the images has prompted US Representative Joe Morelle to label the situation as “appalling.” Social media platform X has stated that it is actively removing the images and taking appropriate actions against the accounts involved in spreading them. However, concerns remain as one photo of Swift reportedly garnered 47 million views before being taken down.

The incident has raised concerns about the impact of deepfake technology, which uses artificial intelligence to create manipulated videos and images. According to a 2023 study, the creation of doctored images has increased by 550% since 2019, driven by advancements in AI.

Currently, there are no federal laws in the US specifically targeting the sharing and creation of deepfake content. However, in the UK, the sharing of deepfake pornography became illegal as part of the Online Safety Act in 2023.

Democratic Representative Morelle, who introduced the proposed Preventing Deepfakes of Intimate Images Act, stressed the need for urgent action, emphasizing the potential emotional, financial, and reputational harm caused by deepfake content, particularly for women.

The images of Swift have sparked further debate among lawmakers, with concerns raised about the lack of safeguards and regulations to combat the rising trend of deepfake technology. Republican Congressman Tom Kean Jr echoed the need for establishing protections against the misuse of AI technology.

Despite the widespread impact of deepfake content, concerns about AI-generated content have gained prominence, especially in the context of political elections. This week, a fake robocall purporting to be from US President Joe Biden, believed to have been made by AI, has sparked an investigation.

As worries about deepfake technology and AI-generated content continue to grow, the need for regulations and safeguards to address this issue becomes increasingly urgent. The incident involving Taylor Swift serves as a stark reminder of the potential consequences of unregulated and abusive use of deepfake technology.

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