FAKE nudes generated by artificial intelligence and posted to a seedy website are going viral online.
The website "DeepSukebe" turns innocuous photos of famous and everyday women into realistic naked photos using deepfake technology.
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The year-old site has caused outrage online after its exploits were exposed in a report by the BBC.
According to the broadcaster, DeepSukebe promises users it can "reveal the truth hidden under clothes" and "make all men's dreams come true".
Launched in 2020, it is unclear who is behind it. The site garnered 38million hits this year alone, the Huffington Post reports.
"It's unknown who is behind the site, which is riddled with spelling and syntax errors, just as it's unclear where they are based," wrote HuffPost tech reporter Jesselyn Cook.
"Last month, the U.S. was by far the site's leading source of traffic, followed by Thailand, Taiwan, Germany and China.
"Now-deleted Medium posts demonstrating how to use the site featured before-and-after pictures of Asian women exclusively."
According to the HuffPost, DeepSukebe claims not to save any of the photos it produces.
Users submit a photo of their choosing to the website, which then converts the image into a horrifyingly realistic deepfake "nude".
Free users are limited to one image every two hours, but visitors can pay a small fee in cryptocurrency to convert more.
A statement on the Deepsukebe website claims the so-called nudifier is a "state of the art AI model".
It was developed with millions of data points and years of research, including months of AI model training, according to its creators.
"DeepSukebe was born by burning huge time & money," the site reads in halting English.
According to Roy Azoulay, founder and CEO of Serelay, which verifies video and photo assets, the technology to nudify images is easy to get hold of.
He told the Daily Mail that the means to create a deepfake website is freely available in "published papers and open-source libraries."
Due to that ease of access, "there's very little that can be done in the way of protection or keeping this technology out of the hands of malicious users," Azoulay said.
According to HuffPost, Facebook removed DeepSukebe's url from its platform after the social media site was contacted by reporters.
Twitter has deactivated the website's account.
Deepfakes are made using complex artificial intelligence (AI) technology to manipulate images and videos.
It can make the subject of a photo or clip look like they are saying or doing something that they didn't.
It's one level up from dubbing, or lip syncing, and can appear very convincing.
Deepfake technology has previously been used to make powerful figures appear as though they were saying something shockingly.
It's also been used to convincingly insert the faces of A-list celebrities into pornographic videos.
Multiple apps and website have created deepfake pornography in the past, sparking outrage online. Almost all have eventually been shut down.
ARE THEY LEGAL?
Currently, deepfakes are not illegal in their own right.
If they are a pornographic face-swap video or photo, the victim can claim defamation or copyright infringement to get them taken down.
However, it is not currently against the law to create phony clips of celebrities making controversial statements that they have never said.
According to the BBC, MP Maria Miller wants a parliamentary debate on whether deepfake nudes should be banned.
There's rising concern among experts that convincing deepfakes could be used to spread misinformation on social media.
Canada’s cybersecurity agency, The Communications Securities Establishment, recently warned that deepfakes pose a threat to modern democracy.
"Improvements in artificial intelligence (AI) are likely to enable interference activity to become increasingly powerful, precise and cost-effective," it wrote in a report on cyber threats.
"Evolving technology underpinned by AI, such as deepfakes, will almost certainly allow threat actors to become more agile and effective."
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In other news, Facebook announced in June that it is cracking down on fake images used to mislead its users.
Your Facebook profile picture could be removed without your consent if you break the site's rules on fake news.
Instagram is making it easier for you to publicly display your pronouns on your profile.
And, Facebook is facing backlash in the US over plans to create a version of Instagram for children aged under 13.
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