Science & Tech

Deepfake 'sex' video of Emma Watson viewed millions of times after being used in an ad

Deepfake 'sex' video of Emma Watson viewed millions of times after being used in an ad
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A face-swap ad has understandably stirred up controversy for using a deepfake of Emma Watson's face in a sexually suggestive post.

A deepfake is a digitally altered video or image to depict someone else, sometimes without consent. They're often used with malicious intent or to spread false information from high-profile individuals.

The ad showed a deepfake depiction of the Harry Potter actress seductively smiling on her knees, about to engage in a sex act.

The disturbing ad was soon shared across social media before being flagged. App stores have now removed the platform, according to NBC News.

Journalism student Lauren Barton brought attention to the post on Twitter, writing "I got this ad yesterday and wow what the hell."

"This could be used with high schoolers in public schools who are bullied," Lauren said. "It could ruin somebody’s life. They could get in trouble at their job. And this is extremely easy to do and free. All I had to do was upload a picture of my face and I had access to 50 free templates."

She also claimed the app was targeted at people over the age of 9.

"Replace face with anyone," the captions on 80 of the ads read, according to NBC. "Enjoy yourself with AI swap face technology."

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Deepfake porn currently exists in a legal grey area – particularly when high-profile figures are involved.

Worryingly, cybersecurity expert and What the Hack podcast host Adam Levin toldIndy100 that "as long as every party involved is a legal adult, there aren’t very many laws on the books to prevent or punish the distribution of illicit content."

He claimed "it’s nearly impossible to remove any content published online, pornographic or otherwise," before adding: "That said, if all the parties are known, there may be legally actionable kinds of deepfake porn content."

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