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Oprah, Piers Morgan, Nigella Lawson: Celebrities Condemn AI Deepfake Misuse in Online Ads

Celebrities Piers Morgan, Nigella Lawson, and Oprah Winfrey have criticized the use of AI deepfake technology in online ads. The ads falsely implied celebrity endorsements for Wesley Virgin's manifestation course, the "Genie Script." Deepfake technology was used to manipulate voices and overlay them onto real footage of the celebrities.

Controversy has erupted as celebrities Piers Morgan, Nigella Lawson, and Oprah Winfrey have spoken out against the use of AI deepfake technology in online advertisements. These ads falsely implied that the celebrities had endorsed a self-help course by US influencer Wesley "Billion Dollar" Virgin. Virgin, a motivational coach with a significant following on Instagram, sells a manifestation course called the "Genie Script" for $37 (£29) per purchase. The videos used in the ads claimed that the Genie Script, supposedly a "missing" Hebrew Bible scripture, could change one's life. However, these promotions blend pseudo-science, conspiracy theories, and the manipulation of celebrity likenesses to attract customers seeking to take control of their destinies.


One of the ads featured Nigella Lawson discussing her recipes and work as a TV chef. However, the voice in the ad was not Lawson's but rather an AI-generated mimicry. The manipulated voice attributed Lawson's success to Wesley Virgin's guidance, using deepfake technology to overlay the fake voice onto real footage. Another ad, featuring what appeared to be an excerpt from Piers Morgan's TV show, employed similar techniques. The voice in the ad described a lost scripture used by kings to attain wealth, healing, and love, with the mouth manipulated to match the speech.


Piers Morgan expressed concern over the misuse of deepfake AI technology for financial gain, stating that the real victims are the unsuspecting public who believe the celebrity endorsements to be genuine. Both ads have since been taken down from YouTube, with a spokesperson for the platform emphasizing their long-standing prohibition of manipulated media, including deepfakes, to deceive or mislead users.


The controversy extended to an ad featuring Oprah Winfrey, discovered in the Ad Library for Meta platforms Facebook and Instagram. Genuine footage of Winfrey was overlaid with AI-generated dialogue, where the fake Oprah touted a 20-word script as a means to become rich. A spokesperson for the real Oprah clarified that she had no association with Virgin's product and sought to protect consumers from false advertising through the misuse of AI.


While Wesley Virgin claimed that the ads were the work of affiliates, individuals who earn money by assisting in sales, videos on his YouTube channel demonstrate his efforts to mentor an online team promoting his products. Titles such as "Make $800+ A DAY Online For FREE Copy & Pasting Links!" encourage viewers to share his products, including the Genie Script, on social media. However, the link leads users to an online checkout for Virgin's manifestation courses, following a sales pitch video with exaggerated claims and an inaccurate account of theological history.


The use of deepfake technology in these ads raises concerns about the potential for deception and the exploitation of celebrity likenesses for financial gain. As AI technology continues to advance, detecting these fakes becomes increasingly challenging. The responsibility falls on platforms like YouTube and Meta to take action against such deceptive content.

 
  • Celebrities Piers Morgan, Nigella Lawson, and Oprah Winfrey have criticized the use of AI deepfake technology in online ads.

  • The ads falsely implied celebrity endorsements for Wesley Virgin's manifestation course, the "Genie Script."

  • Deepfake technology was used to manipulate voices and overlay them onto real footage of the celebrities.


Source: BBC

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