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Midjourney Considers Banning Trump and Biden Images Ahead of US Election

Midjourney is contemplating a ban on the creation of political images using its AI software during the US election season. CEO David Holz expressed ambivalence towards political speech on the platform and mentioned a potential ban on images of Biden and Trump. Other tech companies, such as Inflection AI and Meta Platforms Inc., are also implementing measures to combat misinformation during the election year.

As the US election season kicks into high gear, Midjourney, an artificial intelligence (AI) company, is contemplating a ban on the creation of political images using its software. This potential move comes as AI executives aim to crack down on political disinformation during this crucial period.


Midjourney's AI technology allows users to generate realistic images of almost anything, including fabricated pictures of President Joe Biden wielding a machine gun or former President Donald Trump meeting Pope Francis in the Oval Office. However, the company is now weighing the possibility of prohibiting the creation of political images, specifically those featuring Biden and Trump, in order to avoid becoming entangled in the US presidential election.


During a recent "office hours" session on the chat platform Discord, Midjourney's CEO, David Holz, expressed his ambivalence towards political speech on the platform in the coming year. He stated, "I don't know how much I care about political speech for the next year for our platform." Holz further mentioned that the company is close to implementing a ban on images of Biden and Trump for the next 12 months.


While acknowledging the appeal of creating Trump-related images, Holz emphasised the need to exercise caution during the election period. He stated, "Trump is aesthetically really interesting. However, probably better to just not — better to pull out a little bit during this election. We'll see."


Holz's candid remarks during the chat session, which was open to Midjourney Discord's nearly 19 million users, reflect his willingness to discuss sensitive topics. Other tech CEOs are also contemplating strategies to prevent their platforms from becoming political lightning rods during this year's elections, following the controversies surrounding social media companies in previous years.


Mustafa Suleyman, CEO of Inflection AI, announced in October that their chatbot would not advocate for any political candidate. Meta Platforms Inc. recently revealed plans to label posts created using AI tools as part of a broader effort to combat misinformation during the election year. OpenAI will also introduce watermarks to images created on its platforms to combat election-related misinformation.


The concern among AI executives is the potential for the proliferation of deepfake technology during the election cycle. The ability to create convincing fake images using AI poses a significant challenge in combating political disinformation. Last year, fake images of Trump's arrest, created using Midjourney's technology, went viral on social media. The fear is that even more convincing deepfakes could emerge this year, given the rapid advancements in AI image-generation technology.


Midjourney already has automated bans in place to prevent the creation of certain images that violate its community standards. However, research has shown that users can easily circumvent these restrictions. The effectiveness of banning specific political figures from Midjourney's platform remains questionable, as digital forensics expert Hany Farid points out. He argues that such measures are merely temporary solutions and that people will always find ways to bypass safeguards put in place by AI-generated content platforms.


As the US election approaches and billions of people become eligible to vote in various national elections, the challenge of combating political disinformation looms large. While Midjourney considers a potential ban on Trump and Biden images, the broader issue of tackling misinformation remains a complex and ongoing battle.

 
  • Midjourney is contemplating a ban on the creation of political images using its AI software during the US election season.

  • CEO David Holz expressed ambivalence towards political speech on the platform and mentioned a potential ban on images of Biden and Trump.

  • Other tech companies, such as Inflection AI and Meta Platforms Inc., are also implementing measures to combat misinformation during the election year.


Source: BLOOMBERG

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