The Rising Problem of AI Deepfakes in Advertising: The MrBeast Case

Artificial Intelligence (AI) deepfakes are becoming increasingly sophisticated, to the point where a fraudulent advertisement featuring a deepfake of widely followed creator MrBeast bypassed TikTok’s advertisement moderation technology. The ad depicted MrBeast offering an iPhone 15 Pro to 10,000 viewers for a meager $2, which might typically signal a scam. However, given MrBeast’s record of extravagant giveaways, the offer could have easily been perceived as genuine.

MrBeast, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, gained fame through his stunt videos where he gifts people with free homes, cars, and even cash prizes, with no strings attached. Therefore, it’s only partially implausible to imagine him buying 10,000 iPhones to give away via a TikTok ad, which could have contributed to TikTok approving the deepfake advertisement.

“Are social media platforms ready to handle the rise of AI deepfakes? This is a serious problem” – MrBeast.

The Battle of AI Technologies

TikTok uses a combination of human moderation and AI-aided technology to review ads before they are posted on the platform. In this instance, the AI seems to outsmart TikTok’s AI behind the MrBeast deep fake. Despite this oversight, TikTok managed to remove the ad within a few hours of its posting, as it violated the platform’s advertising policies.

While TikTok does not entirely prohibit advertisers from using synthetic or manipulated media, it does require that advertisers disclose their use of such technology. This policy is not unique to TikTok; Meta, the parent company of Facebook, also uses automated technology and human reviewers to train its AI and review ads.

The Growing Issue of Deceptive Deepfakes

Deceptive deepfakes are not a new phenomenon but are becoming increasingly accessible as AI technology advances and becomes trendier among consumers and investors. While internet celebrities like MrBeast are appealing targets for younger audiences, older consumers are not immune to the deception. For instance, actor Tom Hanks and CBS anchor Gayle King recently warned their followers about fraudulent ads featuring deepfakes of them.

As the technology behind deepfakes continues to evolve, regulating them on a large scale becomes more challenging. This issue is particularly concerning as global elections approach, with the potential for deceptive advertising to have serious consequences.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has already issued warnings about deepfake marketing, highlighting the need for more robust measures to combat this growing trend. As AI deepfakes continue to improve and increase, social media platforms and regulatory bodies must proactively protect consumers from deceptive advertising practices.

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