Donald Trump or Emmanuel Macron by the police? Beware of images generated by artificial intelligence


Check in short

  • Since March 20, 2023, photos showing the alleged arrest of former United States President Donald Trump have been circulating on social networks.
  • Other footage showed police arresting French President Emmanuel Macron, collecting rubbish, or demonstrating.
  • These photos are not original Created by artificial intelligence with Midjourney software.

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Donald Trump was arrested in downtown Washington. That’s what Twitter post in English from March 21, 2023, over 6,000 times. This confirmation was accompanied by three photos showing the former US president who was arrested by the police. Similar posts have been published in French.

Screenshot of a Twitter post from March 21, 2023 sharing these photos. © Monitors

These claims are part of a very specific context. On March 18th, the former President of the United States announced on his social network Truth Social that he would be arrested on Tuesday March 21st and called for a “protest”. He is accused of paying 130 in the middle of the presidential campaign 000 dollars to pornographic actress Stormy Daniels, with whom he was going to have an affair, to buy his silence.

But several elements indicate that these images are not original, such as what was written by the censors of France 24 explains it to you in this video.

The words that appear in these pictures, especially on police caps, mean nothing, for example. Some faces, especially in the background, are blurry and don’t look fully formed.

The images were created using artificial intelligence

By performing a reverse image search (see here How do we continue), we find these pictures in Elliott Higgins Twitter accountBellingcat, founder of investigative media. “Take pictures of Trump being arrested while awaiting his arrest,” he wrote in the caption.

These photos are accompanied by about fifty other photos, representing Donald Trump during his virtual trial or behind bars, wearing the orange suit of American prisons.

Screenshots of Elliot Higgins’ Twitter posts depicting Donald Trump and his family in a hypothetical trial (top) or showing the former US president in prison (bottom). These images are generated using artificial intelligence. © Monitors

in commentsEliot Higgins also explained that he used Midjourney, a tool that creates illustrations from descriptive text using artificial intelligence.

Therefore, the scenes shown in these pictures never happened. As for the possibility of arresting the former US president in the future, Several media outlets announced Wednesday, March 22, that justice has delayed, perhaps until next week, the possible criminal indictment of Donald Trump..

Midjourney’s taboo word “capture”.

In the face of the spread of such posts, Midjourney appears to have taken steps to limit the sharing of such images.

According to Eliott Higgins, Midjourney denied him access to his services. “Looks like doing a viral thread about Donald Trump’s use of Medjourney footage is enough to get you banned from Medjourney, oops,” he said on March 22. on his Twitter account.

It also appears that this program can no longer be required to generate images representing arrests.

By entering the keywords “Donald Trump arrested by the police” (“Donald Trump arrested by the police”, in French), an error message appears. This indicates that the word “arrested” (“arrested” in French) is taboo, as noted by the editorial staff of the Observateurs de France. 24.

The word “captured” was banned from Midjourney. © Monitors

Fake photos of Emmanuel Macron

However, Donald Trump isn’t the only person who has been subjected to misleading images using Midjourney.

With the continued protest against pension reform in FrancePresident Emmanuel Macron has also appeared on images created with this tool.

Some photos show him at the center of demonstrations, struggling with the police or, like Donald Trump, being arrested by the police.

Screenshot from a March 21, 2023 Twitter post sharing photos of Emmanuel Macron being arrested by law enforcement. These images are generated by artificial intelligence. © Monitors

In a context where a strike by garbage collectors complicates waste collectionOther photos show the president picking up trash or walking through trash-strewn streets.

Screenshot of a March 19, 2023 Twitter post sharing images depicting French President Emmanuel Macron obtained from Medjourney. © Monitors

While some posts explicitly refer to the use of this AI tool, others share these images without context or explanation, and thus can be misleading.

Increase technology efficiency

Creating images with AI, as Midjourney does, is nothing new.

Other tools, such as OpenAI’s Dall-E, have been known for several months to be able to generate such images. In January 2023, For example, Observateurs de France 24 writings looked at images that are supposed to prove the existence of a forgotten civilization in Antarctica, which was created with this tool.

But if Midjourney has been talked about a lot in recent days, it is because the fifth version of the program, released on March 16, 2023, makes it possible to produce images much more realistic than previously suggested. So it is becoming increasingly difficult to identify this type of content.

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