Tech

Deepfake porn is getting easier to make and it's coming for regular people soon

As the tech gets cheaper, deepfake porn videos of mostly female celebrities proliferate. But soon anyone with a grudge and a computer will be able to create it.

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Deepfake pornography, where people's likenesses are digitally inserted onto other people's bodies, has gone mainstream, according to a recent Wired report. Data from deepfake detection company Sensity (formerly known as DeepTrace) shows that up to 1,000, non-consensual deepfake videos are uploaded to porn sites monthly, a concerning figure considering even the best detection tools we have for spotting deepfakes are only accurate 65 percent of the time.

Three of the biggest porn sites in the world have deepfake videos with millions of views, and there isn’t much anyone can do about it because there's little legislation globally that governs it. For now, the most prolific instances affect female celebrities, but with the technology to create deepfake porn improving speedily, it'll soon be a tool anyone can you to create fake revenge porn, propaganda, identity theft, or anything else where a convincing video is a powerful tool.

Mainstream lies — XVideos and Xnxx, the number one and three top porn sites globally respectively, have deepfake tags listing hundreds of videos, but even more roam wild on the sites. Data for Pornhub, the number two site, wasn’t included, but it definitely has to deal with these videos despite being the only one with an official policy for removing such content from its site. xHamster, meanwhile, has a comparatively small deepfake problem, but is the most vocal about its efforts to combat the problem.

“We absolutely understand the concern around deepfakes, so we make it easy for it to be removed,” xHamster vice president Alex Hawkins told Wired. “Content uploaded without necessary permission being obtained is in violation of our Terms of Use and will be removed once identified.”

XVideos and Xnxx, owned by the same Czech holding company, didn’t respond to Wired’s requests for comments. They continue to rack up revenue from the ads placed on the video pages.

The law is too far behind — Deepfake pornography disproportionately affects women. While these videos traditionally feature celebrities, experts have seen increased interest in influencers and other online personalities. With the technology dropping in price to only $100 in some instance while at the same time becoming ever more impressive, we’re not too far off from these non-consensual videos moving from the domain of public entertainment figures to politicians and eventually, regular people.

There are options for getting these videos removed, from copyright claims to defamation, but these battles are expensive and often end up not applying to deepfakes at all. In addition to being humiliated, victims need to shell out money and resources with no guarantee the video will be removed. And once something is online, it can be endlessly replicated and distributed with ease.

Adding another layer of complexity, it’s unclear how many deepfake porn videos were shot specifically for that purpose or use repurposed existing videos. If the latter, both the porn performer and celebrity receive none of the profits.

“I see the evolution of deep fakes in the pornographic space as actually the harbinger of the bigger civil liberties issues that are going to emerge,” Nina Schick, political broadcaster and author of Deepfakes and the Infocalypse, told Wired.

While the U.S. and the U.K. have, or are working on, deepfake-specific legislation, the former is limited to politicians and the latter could take years to enforce. As for the rest of the world? It's the Wild West, and right now, there aren't enough sheriffs.