When it comes to international pop stars, Taylor Swift comes to mind.
The stars’ reach has gone beyond just music, impacting legal issues like ticket scalping and music ownership. Now, the stars’ next predicted legal action will help out K-Pop idols and other celebrities in the long run.
In late January 2024, X(formerly Twitter) was flooded with deep fake content of Swift. Deep fakes are images and videos that superimpose a person’s facial features onto another’s body.
While there are harmless applications of this technology, usually, it is used to create problematic and explicit content of celebrities.
The number of deep fake images and videos of Swift grew to an alarming amount seemingly overnight, resulting in X blocking searches of her name temporarily and those with her name and the term “deep fake” permanently, it seems.
X issued a warning to users on the platform about non-consensual nudity images being posted, promising swift action against violators.
Posting Non-Consensual Nudity (NCN) images is strictly prohibited on X and we have a zero-tolerance policy towards such content. Our teams are actively removing all identified images and taking appropriate actions against the accounts responsible for posting them. We're closely…
— Safety (@Safety) January 26, 2024
This outbreak of deep fakes involving such a high-profile celebrity caught the attention of the U.S. government. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre promised the government would do what they could and urged social media platforms to take action.
We’re going to do what we can to deal with this issue. So while social-media companies make their own independent decisions about content management, we believe they have an important role to play in enforcing, enforcing their own rules to prevent the spread of misinformation, and nonconsensual, intimate imagery of real people.
— White House secretary Karine Jean-Pierre
Since this technology is accessible to anyone, K-Pop idols also deal with deep fake explicit imagery, with entire websites dedicated to faking idol content. Much of the content exists on X as well and is hidden by censoring the idol’s name (ex. BTS‘s Jungkook becomes BT5 Jungk00k, BLACKPINK‘s Jennie becomes BL@CKP!NK’s J3nn!3).
Many expect Taylor Swift to begin some legal action with these circumstances or to endorse tighter regulations on AI usage, similar to how ticketing for her tour launched investigations into Ticketmaster.
And, just like those investigations affected idols, any legal action against deep fakes will also help K-Pop stars not deal with this same problem.