Emma Watson

Hundreds of sexually suggestive deepfake video ads of Emma Watson and Scarlett Johansson ran on Facebook and Instagram this week.

According to NBC News, hundreds of videos that showed Watson and Johansson in sexually suggestive and provocative situations ran across Meta platforms as part of an ad campaign for artificially intelligent (AI) app that creates “DeepFake FaceSwap” video.

NBC reports that “DeepFake FaceSwap” videos rolled out more than 230 video ads on Meta platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger, over two days according to a review of the company’s ad library.

There were 127 ads for “DeepFake FaceSwap” that featured Watson’s face in provocative scenarios. Meanwhile, another 74 ads featured Johansson’s likeness in similar situations.

The ads begin with the image of a woman seemingly initiating a sexual act at the start of an explicit video. Within a few seconds, the woman’s face changes to a highly convincing deepfake of either Watson or Johansson.

“Replace face with anyone,” the captions on 80 of the ads read. “Enjoy yourself with AI swap face technology.”

The same ads also reportedly appeared on free photo-editing and gaming apps downloaded from Apple’s App Store, where the app first appeared in 2022 for free for ages 9 and up.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Meta confirmed that all of the app’s ads had been removed from Meta’s services.

“Our policies prohibit adult content regardless of whether it is generated by AI or not, and we have restricted this Page from advertising on our platform,” a Meta spokesperson says in a statement.

Meta banned most deepfake content in 2020, and the company prohibits adult content in ads, including nudity, depictions of people in explicit or suggestive positions, or activities that are sexually provocative.

According to Gizmodo, the deepfake video ad campaign was seemingly an ad for the app “FaceMega” which allows users to swap out the faces of an individual in a video with photos uploaded to the app for $8 a week.

FaceMega has supposedly since been pulled or deleted from Apple’s App store. However, the AI app is still available in Google Play Store.

AI-generated pornographic content which features the faces of non-consenting individuals is becoming increasingly common online.

In January, a community of young Twitch livestreamers discovered that their images were on a deepfake porn site. AI had been used to depict them in sex acts without their consent or knowledge.

In the U.S., there is currently no federal legislation to protect against people’s images being used without their consent in deepfake porn or with any associated technology.

However last year, the U.K. announced plans to criminalize the sharing of any deepfake porn made without the subject’s consent. Those found violating the law can face jail time.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.


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