YouTube creators using AI misinformation to target black celebrities

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LEWD disinformation about dozens of Black celebrities has been widely disseminated on YouTube through videos that combine AI and manipulated media to create fake content.

Some of the celebrities affected are rapper and record executive Sean “Diddy” Combs, TV host Steve Harvey, actor Denzel Washington, and Bishop T.D. Jakes.

NBC News reports that fake narratives based on previous rape and sex trafficking lawsuits against Combs—including a well-known case that was settled between him and entertainer Casandra “Cassie” Ventura—have been promoted by several video titles and voice-overs.

Other videos have used modified media to show celebrities in lewd actions and exaggerated displays of emotion in the thumbnails, implicating people like Jakes in the charges against Combs without any proof.

The report further stated that NBC News had reviewed a dozen YouTube channels posting what appears to be AI-generated fake news content about Black celebrities. Many of the videos it reviewed are clickbait, meaning the YouTube video titles and thumbnails indicate narratives or allegations that aren’t in the videos themselves. Some of the videos have millions of views, and the median number of combined views for each channel was 21 million.

In a statement to NBC, a YouTube representative said the company reviewed the channels it had flagged and took several action on them, including terminating three channels for violating its terms of service, while removing additional channels from its monetization programme and  a number of videos and thumbnails.

“YouTube’s Community Guidelines set the rules of the road for what is and is not allowed on our platform, including content that contains targeted harassment or unwanted sexualization,” the statement read.

Videos featuring Black celebrities frequently relate to actual, startling, and sensational news occurrences. The videos can gather popularity rapidly because they seem to offer new information about topics that are already receiving attention, but they are actually remixing real news with false information and allegations.

With YouTube’s parent firm, Google, experimenting with generative AI technology and growing concerns about disinformation tactics aimed at the global 2024 elections, there is a flood of modified and AI-generated content on the platform at the same time.

The new policy, which calls for labels for artificial intelligence (AI) and modified content in films, was revealed by YouTube in November. We haven’t implemented that system yet.

Although fake, altered, and artificial intelligence (AI)-generated content has long been available on YouTube, interest in alternative news sources and recent technology advancements have increased the motivation to create this kind of content, endangering the information ecosystems.

Fact-checker at The FactheckHub | [email protected] | + posts

Seasoned fact-checker and researcher Fatimah Quadri has written numerous fact-checks, explainers, and media literacy pieces for The FactCheckHub in an effort to combat information disorder. She can be reached at sunmibola_q on X or [email protected].

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