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Women, Not Democracy, Are the Main Victims of Deepfakes

While the 2020 U.S. presidential elections have lawmakers on edge over AI-generated fake videos, a new study by Netherlands-based deepfake-detection outfit Deeptrace shows that the main victims today are women. According to Deeptrace, deepfake videos have exploded in the past year, rising from 8,000 in December 2018 to 14,678 today. And not surprisingly for the internet, nearly all of the material is pornography, which accounts for 96% of the deepfake videos it’s found online. The fake videos have been viewed 134 million times.

The numbers suggest deepfake porn is still niche but also growing quickly. Additionally, 90% of the fake content depicted women from the U.S., UK, and Canada, while 2% represented women from South Korea and 2% depicted women from Taiwan. “Deepfake pornography is a phenomenon that exclusively targets and harms women,” the company notes. That small number of non-pornographic deepfake videos it analyzed on YouTube mostly contained (61%) synthesized male subjects. According to Henry Ajder, a researcher at Deeptrace, currently most of the deepfake porn involves famous women. But he reckons the threat to all women is likely to increase as it becomes less computationally expensive to create deepfakes. As for the political threat, there actually aren’t that many cases where deepfakes have changed a political outcome.