Deepfakes From Met Gala Prove We Have a Problem. Even Katy Perry’s Mom Thought They Were Real

  • Images of Perry and other A-listers went viral this week. There's just one problem: They were fake.

  • The implications of deepfakes are frightening. In the future, they could even influence elections.

Deepfakes at the Met Gala
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The Met Gala is one of the biggest celebrity parties of the year. The event is a showcase for celebrities and fashion designers where extravagant designs and accessories often attract a lot of attention. However, this year's gala had another unexpected star: AI-generated deepfakes.

Deepfakes of Katy Perry and Rihanna fool the Internet. Singers Katy Perry and Rihanna, household names that are clearly recognized on big nights such as this, didn't attend the event, but the Internet sure thought they did. Photos of the two flooded social media, confusing fans. The photos weren't generated, they were created by AI.

Eagle-eyed Twitter/X users spot the fakes. Some social media users discovered that these images were fake and started spreading the word. In addition, X's Community Notes feature also pointed out that the images were created by AI. Community Notes lets users add helpful information to posts on the social media platform and frequently helps others identify whether messages and images are real.

This isn’t Katy Perry. That’s what happened to Perry, who appeared in several viral images wearing a striking dress covered in flowers. One of the details that helped identify the photo as a deepfake was the carpet. The carpet in the fake photos was the same one used in 2018, a gala that both Rihanna and Katy Perry attended. This year's carpet, however, featured a green tone and was covered in vegetation.

But her mother thought it was. The funny thing is, as the Associated Press reports, Perry’s deepfake fooled a very important person: her mom. The artist posted a screenshot of a text her mom sent her admiring the dress on Instagram.  In reply, Perry said, “lol mom the AI got you, BEWARE!”

Fake Rihanna was also at the Met Gala. An image of Rihanna in a spectacular floral dress at the Met Gala also went viral. However, it wasn’t her. Although Rihanna was initially confirmed as a guest, Vogue’s representatives had already announced that she wouldn’t attend the Met Gala. People reported that the singer missed the event because she had the flu.

Suspicious AI training. Getty Images is the photo agency that takes and publishes photos of the Met Gala. The photo agency sued Stability AI last year, claiming that the startup had copied more than 12 million images from its library without permission. Getty recently debuted its own image generator trained on pictures in its repository. However, some suspect that the AI-generated images of Perry and Rihanna were created based off photos of them at previous galas.

Concern. Like with past AI-generated images of Pope Francis and Donald Trump, these deepfakes are worrying because of the influence and damage they can cause on social media, where people can possibly be led to believe they're real. The Taylor Swift deepfakes are a recent notable incident. Beyond fake Met Gala images, some believe this type of AI-generated content could one day influence elections. It's an uneasy thought.

Image | @jxries | @tereluprados

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