Cyberbullying girls with pornographic deepfakes is a form of misogyny

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The BBC recently reported on a disturbing new form of cyberbullying that took place at a school in Almendralejo, Spain. A group of girls were harmed by male classmates who used an app powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to generate “deepfake” pornographic images of the girls, and then distributed those images on social media. In the Almendralejo incident, more than 20 girls between 11 and 17 came forward as victims of fake pornographic images.

The harms in this case can be partially explained in terms of consent and privacy violations. But as researchers whose work is concerned with AI and ethics, we see deeper issues as well. This incident fits into larger trends of how this technology is being used. A 2019 study found 96 per cent of all deepfake videos online were pornographic, prompting significant commentary about how they are being specifically used to degrade women.

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