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Deepfake Porn

Updated: SEPTEMBER 23, 2021
Reviewed by Dr. Laura McGuire
on August 26, 2021

Deepfake porn is pornographic content made or modified with artificial intelligence (AI) software. This software allows people to manipulate the visuals of existing pornography.

Deepfake porn usually looks like it stars well-known public figures, such as actresses and models. However, deepfake porn can look like it stars ordinary citizens or even people who do not exist. The phenomena is cause for concern as the people who have had their image manipulated to appear in the video have rarely given their consent to be seen that way.

Anyone's image may be “deepfaked” in deepfake porn, but women are more commonly deepfaked than men.

Since 2018, more than 14,500 deepfake porn videos have appeared on the DeepTrace Deepfake Database. An estimated 96 percent of deepfake video content is deepfake porn.

One of the most famous deepfake porn videos appeared to feature Gal Gadot, the Israeli actress famous for her role in Wonder Woman. As a relatively early example of deepfaking, it wasn’t perfect. Eagle-eyed observers spotted that the fake face moved in an unnatural way. However, despite its flaws the video still attracted substantial views and comments.

Leading technology platforms including Google and Facebook have spoken out against deepfake porn. Concerned about the impact of deepfake porn on deepfake "stars" how are shown in ways they never agreed to be seen in, they want to make these videos less accessible to online users. App marketplaces have also banned apps which help people make deepfake porn content.

Despite the concerns of these technology giants, deepfake porn is relatively unpopular. Experts say most other types of porn with real actors and actresses receive many more online views than most deepfake porn videos.

Deepfake porn is a form of sex technology, or SexTech for short. As with other forms of SexTech, deepfake porn may be popular with digisexuals. These people find getting their sexual needs met with technology is easier than making connections with human beings. Their sex lives often involve virtual interactions, rather than physical ones.

More About Deepfake Porn

While deepfake porn is not as popular as many porn genres, this type of adult entertainment still has an audience. Websites specializing in deepfake porn give people interested in this porn genre easy access to a range of relevant videos. For legal reasons, these videos usually have a disclaimer stating that the site's users create the videos. They also note that while the videos contain celebrity likenesses, they are fake and intended only for entertainment. As with all adult sites, these websites also state that people under 18 should not view their content.

While some people video deepfake porn as harmless entertainment, some activists and politicians feel concerned by the trend. As deepfake porn creators can deepfake anyone into their content, there is the potential for people to deepfake the image of any person. A deepfaked person may feel embarrassed and frightened.

There are cases where ordinary people have learned of deepfake porn featuring their likenesses. While these people have never made porn, deepfake porn creators edit innocent photos from their social media pages to appear as if they were engaged in sex acts.

People could create deepfake porn featuring their former partners or anyone else they dislike in in a revenge attack. As deepfake porn is so realistic, it could potentially damage the reputation of someone who had no part in its creation. Someone used for deepfake porn may find it difficult secure work or face damaged relationships. Deepfake porn can also feature underaged people, who could not legally work in the adult film industry nor legally consent to sex.

The content of deepfake porn is also troubling. Experts estimate between 90 and 95 percent of deepfake porn features nonconsensual sexual acts. People who reject the content worry that it may normalize or even romanticize nonconsensual sex for viewers.

Studies on the subject, like Choose your stars and studs: The rise of deepfake designer porn and Sexualization of Children in Deepfakes and Hentai: Examining Reddit User Views [Porn Studies, 7(4), 352-356. Eelmaa, S. (2021)] show deepfake porn is intrinsically tied to rape culture because of its reliance on denying consent to the people whose images they are using. It is also one of the erotic art tools that is primed for child exploitation and sexualization. Basically it is everything that can be weaponized and create harm in erotica.

Many people feel concerned that women are mostly deepfaked, especially as so much deepfake porn has nonconsensual sex. They see deepfake porn as another tool people can use to dominate and harm women, mentally and physically. This type of content takes the image of women without their consent, robbing of the agency they have over their own bodies.

There is also the potential for cybercriminals to use deepfake porn for their own financial gain. A cybercriminal could create deepfake porn with a target’s image, then try to extort them for money to prevent its online publication.

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