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Searches for Taylor Swift blocked on X after emergence of AI-generated pornographic images

Rebecca Barnabi
Artificial intelligence
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For now, X, formerly known as Twitter, and searches for Taylor Swift, are never, ever getting back together.

The social media platform blocked certain searches for the singer last week as pornographic deepfake images emerged online.

The Associated Press reported today that searches in X without quote marks brought up an error message and prompted users to retry. Searches with quotes around Swift’s name allowed results to appear.

Unfortunately, Swift is now the most famous victim of artificial intelligence (AI) and blocking searches of her name will not fix the problem. The pornographic images appeared to have been created with an AI image-generator that creates new images with each prompt.

“This is a temporary action and done with an abundance of caution as we prioritize safety on this issue,” Joe Benarroch, head of business operations at X, said in a statement.

“Swifties,” also known as the singer’s fan base, launched a counteroffensive quickly on X with #ProtectTaylorSwift and by flooding the social media platform with positive images of the “Anti-Hero” and “Midnights” singer who began as country music artist in 2005 at age 14 with “Tim McGraw,” a country music star she later sang a song with after she earned stardom.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.