Sexual deepfake ads of Emma Watson and Scarlett Johansson circulate on internet from 'predatory' website
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: A disturbing porn website has been featuring deepfakes of Emma Watson and Scarlett Johansson as its "top models." The website offers recordings that have been digitally manipulated to show different Hollywood actors performing inappropriate acts, which goes on without their knowledge or permission.
In a recent advertisement, a woman identical to Emma Watson smiles coyly and crouches down in front of the camera, seemingly initiating a sexual act. However, the woman is not actually Watson. The advertising campaign is for a deepfake program, which lets users insert any face into a video of their choice. 127 of the Meta advertisements saw Watson's face while another 74 saw Scarlett Johansson's face being switched with the faces of women in comparable racy videos.
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'It could ruin somebody’s life'
According to an analysis, a startling 96% of deepfake footage was assessed to be sexually explicit and created without the subject's consent. Lauren Barton, a journalism student, brought attention to such an ad by posting it on Twitter, where it received over 17 million views. She said, "I got this ad yesterday and wow what the hell." "This could be used with high schoolers in public schools who are bullied," Barton said, as per NBC. "It could ruin somebody’s life. They could get in trouble at their job. And this is extremely easy to do and free. All I had to do was upload a picture of my face and I had access to 50 free templates."
i got this ad yesterday and wow what the hell pic.twitter.com/smGiR3MfMb— Lauren Barton (@laurenbarton03) March 6, 2023
'It doesn’t rely on the consent of the people'
Noelle Martin, an Australian activist and law reform campaigner said that the site is "not a porn site", instead calling it "predatory." "It doesn't rely on the consent of the people on the actual website," Martin said. "The fact that it’s even allowed to operate and is known is a complete indictment of every regulator in the space, of all law enforcement, of the entire system, that this is even allowed to exist."
'Nearly impossible to remove any content published online'
Adam Levin, a cybersecurity expert and 'What the Hack' podcast host spoke about the issue, explaining, "As long as every party involved is a legal adult, there aren’t very many laws on the books to prevent or punish the distribution of illicit content. It’s nearly impossible to remove any content published online, pornographic or otherwise. That said, if all the parties are known, there may be legally actionable kinds of deep fake porn content."