AI-Generated Deepfakes Promoting Black Trump Supporters Exposed

Supporters of Donald Trump have been generating and disseminating AI-generated fake images depicting black voters to promote African American support for the Republican party, according to a BBC Panorama investigation.

The discovery includes numerous deepfakes featuring black individuals seemingly endorsing the former president. While Mr. Trump has actively sought the support of black voters, crucial to Joe Biden’s victory in 2020, there is no direct evidence linking these manipulated images to Trump’s campaign.

The co-founder of Black Voters Matter, a group dedicated to encouraging black voter participation, noted that these manipulated images are part of a “strategic narrative” aimed at portraying Trump as popular within the black community.

A creator of one of the images said, “I’m not claiming it’s accurate.” The proliferation of fake images portraying black Trump supporters, generated through artificial intelligence (AI), marks one of the emerging disinformation trends leading up to the US presidential election scheduled for November.

In contrast to the 2016 election, where foreign influence campaigns were evident, the AI-generated images seem to originate from US voters themselves. Mark Kaye and his team at a conservative radio show in Florida were among those responsible for crafting an image featuring Mr. Trump happily posing with a group of black women at a party. This image was then shared on Facebook, where Mr. Kaye boasts over one million followers.

AI-GENERATED IMAGE AI-generated image of Trump with black voters
This image, created by a radio host and his team using AI, is one of dozens of fakes portraying black Trump supporters


Upon closer examination, the images appear almost authentic, but subtle discrepancies, such as unnaturally glossy skin and missing fingers on hands, betray their origins as AI-generated creations. Mark Kaye, speaking from his radio studio, clarifies that he isn’t a photojournalist but rather a storyteller.

In a recent post, Mr. Kaye shared an article discussing black voters endorsing Mr. Trump and appended the AI-generated image, creating an impression that these individuals uniformly back the former president’s bid for the White House.

Several users engaging in Facebook comments seemed to genuinely perceive the AI-generated image as authentic. Mark Kaye clarifies, “I’m not claiming it is accurate. I’m not saying, ‘Hey, look, Donald Trump was at this party with all of these African American voters. Look how much they love him!'” He emphasizes that if someone bases their vote on a single photo on Facebook, it’s an issue with that individual, not the post itself.

Another notable AI image discovered in an investigation depicts Mr. Trump posing with black voters on a front porch. Originally posted by a satirical account generating images of the former president, it garnered widespread attention when reposted with a misleading caption falsely asserting that he had halted his motorcade to interact with these individuals.

Conservative radio show host Mark Kaye, speaking to the BBC from his studio
Radio show host Mark Kaye told the BBC that it was the individual’s problem if their vote was influenced by AI images

We identified the individual behind the account “Shaggy,” a dedicated Trump supporter residing in Michigan. Responding to our inquiries through social media as narrated by the BBC, stated, “[My posts] have attracted thousands of wonderful kind-hearted Christian followers.” However, when pressed about the AI-generated image, he promptly blocked further communication. The post has amassed over 1.3 million views on the social media site X. While some users raised concerns about its authenticity, others appeared to accept the image as genuine.

Notably, I did not uncover similar instances of manipulated images featuring Joe Biden interacting with voters from a specific demographic. The AI-generated images of the president typically depict him in solitary poses or alongside other world leaders, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin or former US President Barack Obama. These images vary in origin, created by both critics and supporters alike.

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