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The Rise of AI-Generated Pornography on E-Commerce Platforms

E-commerce giant Etsy is struggling to curb the sale of AI-generated pornographic images on its platform, according to a recent Forbes exposé. Until notified by Forbes, Etsy hosted digitally-altered explicit images of at least 55 female celebrities, available for purchase by any user for as little as $2.49.

While Etsy has technically banned “pornography” under its terms of service, it continues to allow thousands of AI-generated nude images that would fall under most legal definitions of pornography. A simple search for terms like “AI porn” or “deepfake porn” returns countless pornography listings.

The Mainstreaming of Deepfakes

Experts say recent advances in AI have made it easier than ever for anyone to generate photorealistic fake nude images. The fact that these images have now proliferated to popular sites like Etsy signals their move into the mainstream.

Facebook scientists say they can tell where deepfakes come …“, said Hany Farid, a computer science professor at UC Berkeley. Unlike platforms like Amazon and eBay, Etsy’s search algorithm actively recommends related pornography once a user begins searching for it.

While non-consensual deepfake porn disproportionately targets and violates women, Etsy has taken little concrete action other than removing listings that are explicitly reported. Their policies remain vague on what types of AI-generated content is allowed, and their statements suggest distributing pornography still makes up part of their business model.

Because deepfake technology moves faster than legislation, victims currently have limited legal options. Law professor Rebecca Delfino said violations could potentially fall under defamation, copyright, or right of publicity claims – but pursuing them takes immense time and resources.

A current court case addresses the unauthorized use of a TV star’s face in the popular face-swapping app Reface. But so far, no major cases have tested laws against non-consensual deepfake pornography. For people exploited by deepfakes, much relies on tech companies to moderate content.

“I don’t think this gets solved with letters and lawyers,” Farid said. “You have to think about where the chokepoints are.”

Regulating platforms like Etsy may be the best avenue to curb the mass distribution of non-consensual deepfake pornography. But first, companies need to explicitly make it against their policies – and invest far more resources into enforcing those policies. For victims of deepfakes, progress remains slow.

deepfakes, #aiart, #etsy, #onlinecommerce, #contentmoderation, #internetgovernance, #womensrights, #privacy, #defamation

Reference:

  1. Facebook scientists say they can tell where deepfakes come …
  2. Virtual influencers: meet the AI-generated figures posing as …
  3. Is Joe Biden Dead, Replaced by 10 Different Deepfake Body …
  4. Synthetic media – Wikipedia
  5. Drake’s AI clone is here — and Drake might not be able to …
  6. AI Is About to Make Social Media Much More Toxic – The Atlantic
  7. Kendrick Lamar uses deepfakes in latest music video – AI News
  8. Technology-facilitated gender-based violence in an era of …
  9. https://www.forbes.com/sites/cyrusfarivar/2023/12/20/etsy-has-been-hosting-deepfake-porn-of-celebrities/?sh=6a0edfac5927
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