The attack ad has fake images of Trump and Fauci

Defending the False Campaign of Trump and Anthony Fauci in the DeSantis War Room: What AI Really Says about Donald Trump and Joe Biden

The DeSantis War Room shared a video on June 5th to promote Anthony Fauci, a former White House chief medical advisor and a key figure in developing the US response to COVID-19. Fauci has become a hated figure in right-wing politics, particularly among the anti-vax movement, and the attack ad seeks to grow this base of support for DeSantis by portraying Trump and Fauci as close collaborators.

Republican Senator J. D. Vance of Ohio said that he wasn’t happy with the way Donald Trump was portrayed. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Republican congresswoman from Georgia, retweeted Vance’s message. The fake campaign ads need to be taken down immediately.

The “De Santis War Room” Twitter account was launched last August by DeSantis’ political aide Christina Pushaw, and its use of AI shows the increasing normalization of deepfakes in US politics. Donald Trump shared an image of him praying and an audio deepfake mocking the launch of another person’s campaign. After Joe Biden announced he would be running for re-election in 2024, the RNC published an attack ad that also featured AI-generated imagery.

The rapid improvement and deployment of generative AI, which can produce realistic images, audio, video, and text, is raising alarms over how it could worsen the spread of misleading claims and propaganda, and be used to create entirely plausible yet false depictions of events that never happened.

“These problems, however, will eventually get resolved and we can expect AI-generated images, and audio and video, to become increasingly more difficult to distinguish from reality,” Farid said.

The three fake pictures have several hallmarks of artificial intelligence, including unnatural arm and hand rendering, and nonsensical text, that are similar to the White House press briefing room.

“Intermixing real and fake images was a very clever way to get around the fact that they weren’t the real images,” said a digital forensics expert and professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

In a collage of six pictures of the two men, three appear to be AI-generated fakes depicting Trump and Fauci embracing. The fake photos of the two men are very similar, according to a report by the Agence Francais.

The Florida governor’s rapid response team posted a video on Monday that was very critical of the former president’s alleged support of Fauci.

The campaign trying to get Ron DeSantis to become the Republican presidential nominee used artificial intelligence in their attack ad against Donald Trump.

Afraid of the Fakes: Creating Legible Text from Getty Images, the DeSantis Ad, and the White House, Washington

For example, in the top-left image, you can see a recreation of the sign that appears behind the press briefing podium and that, in real life, says “The White House, Washington.” You can see this sign in this picture from March 27th from Getty Images:

Compare this to the sign that appears in the top-left image from the DeSantis ad. The shade of blue is different and the text is nonsense. Creating legible text is a challenge for current image generation systems. If you look closely, you can see how Trump and Fauci have unrealistically posed faces, and that Trump’s hair is oddly smooth and featureless.

Digital media forensics expert Siwei Lyu came to the same conclusion, noting abnormalities in the three images. “I am pretty sure these are not real photos,” Lyu told the AFP.

Although some of the cases are obvious fakes, campaigns continue to blur the line between parody and misinformation. The difference between real and fake images is even harder because of this latest example. It takes a believable narrative of Trump and Fauci being friendly to convince viewers that it is a truth. Deepfakes are helping politicians create their own reality.

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