July 23, 2024

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US: Trump supporters target black voters with AI images


US Election 2024Trump supporters target black voters with AI images

Donald Trump's supporters used artificial intelligence to create and disseminate images that could influence black voters.

Samira Kunz
  • The US presidential election will be held in the fall of 2024.

  • Artificially generated photos of Donald Trump appear in advance of alleged black voters.

  • Images created by Trump supporters could influence the election.

In the 2020 US presidential election, the black vote was crucial in ensuring that Joe Biden wins and Donald Trump loses. Now Trump fans seem to be trying to win over this electorate. Artificial intelligence-generated images of black people looking passionately at Trump continue to surface online.

However, the BBC reported that it found no evidence that the images were directly related to Trump's campaign. The images appear to be created and distributed by American voters.

“I never said the picture was real”

Radio announcer Mark Kay's crew created and shared one such photo. Trump later appeared very happy, smiling, surrounded by black women and men. Kay shared the image with an article about black voters on Facebook, where she has more than a million followers. This made it look like everyone in the film was supporting Trump.

But he dismissed allegations of election interference, saying: “I never said the picture is authentic. I didn't say, 'Hey, look, Donald Trump was at this party with all these African-American voters. Look how much they love him!›» If someone decides to vote for Trump because of a photo they posted, that's a problem with the person, not the image.

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Another widely circulated AI image examined by the BBC shows Trump posing with young black men on a corridor. It was originally published by a satirical account that makes pictures of the former president. But it gained widespread attention when another account falsely claimed in the caption that Trump had stopped his motorcade to meet these people. The film was viewed by 1.3 million people.

The BBC was able to trace the person who distributed the image with the wrong signature. He is a staunch Trump voter from Michigan. When a journalist asked him questions about the film's authenticity, he was blocked.

The images spread a “strategic narrative”.

Cliff Albright, co-founder of Black Voters Matter, a group that encourages black people to vote, told the BBC that the manipulated images spread a “strategic narrative” aimed at portraying Trump as popular in the black community. “There are documented efforts to re-reach black communities, particularly younger black voters, with misinformation,” he says.

The BBC could not find any similar AI-generated images of Joe Biden with voters. The created images usually show the current president with other politicians such as Barack Obama or Vladimir Putin.

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