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Pro-Bitcoin DeSantis tagged over AI-faked photos in Trump smear campaign

Pro-Bitcoin (BTC) presidential bidder Ron DeSantis has been tagged for apparently using artificial intelligence-generated images in an ad campaign smearing rival and former president Donald Trump.

It comes amid a rise in AI-generated deep fakes being used in political ads and movements in recent months.

On June 5, DeSantis’ campaign tweeted a video purporting to show Trump’s close support of Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to Trump when he was president of the United States.

Fauci is a contentious figure in GOP circles for, among other reasons, his handling of the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic which many deemed to be heavy-handed.

The video features a collage of real images depicting Trump and Fauci mixed in with what appears to be AI-generated images of the pair hugging with some depicting Trump appearing to kiss Fauci.

Twitter’s Community Notes feature — the platform’s community-driven misinformation-dispelling project — added a disclaimer to the tweet calling it “AI-generated images.”

AFP Fact Check, a department within the news agency Agence France-Presse said the images had “the hallmarks of AI-generated imagery.”

A screenshot from the video, the top left, bottom middle and bottom right images are AI-generated. Source: Twitter

DeSantis and Trump are facing off to take the Republican nominee for president. DeSantis kicked off his bid last month in a Twitter Space and promised to “protect” Bitcoin — current polling has him trailing Trump.

AI in the political sphere

Others in politics have used AI-generated media to attack rivals, even Trump’s campaign is guilty of using AI to smear DeSantis.

Shortly after DeSantis announced his presidential bid, Trump posted a video mocking DeSantis’ Twitter-based announcement, using deepfaked audio to create a fake Twitter Space featuring the likeness of DeSantis, Elon Musk, George Soros, Adolf Hitler, Satan, and Trump.

A screenshot of the video posted by Trump depicting a Twitter Space. Source: Instagram

In April, the Republican party released an ad with its predictions on what a second term for President Joe Biden would look like which was packed with AI-generated images that depicted a dystopian future.

Related: Forget Cambridge Analytica — Here’s how AI could threaten elections

New Zealand politics has also recently featured AI-made media with the country’s opposing National Party using generated images to attack the ruling Labour Party in multiple social posts in May.

The National Party used AI to generate Polynesian hospital workers in a social media campaign. Source: Instagram

One image depicts Polynesian hospital staff, another shows multiple masked men robbing a jewelry store and a third image depicts a woman in a house at night — all were generated using AI tools.

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