Donald Trump Shares Deepfake Photograph of Himself on Social Media
— Matt Novak (@paleofuture) March 23, 2023
Donald Trump shared a deepfake image of himself praying on one knee on Truth Social this week, one of the many AI-generated photos trending on social media platforms. The former president didn’t comment on the image one way or another, but presumably either didn’t mind or didn’t notice the flaws in biology and setting evincing the image’s AI origins.
Trump reposted the image as a screenshot from a different user, who captioned the image with “pray for this man,” but it was produced by Eliot Higgin, the founder of open-source investigative reporting outlet Bellingcat using text-to-image engine Midjourney v5, which the synthetic media company released earlier this month. Higgin’s shared a long series of Midjouney-produced images from prompts about Trump getting arrested, which quickly went viral internationally.
Making pictures of Trump getting arrested while waiting for Trump’s arrest. pic.twitter.com/4D2QQfUpLZ
— Eliot Higgins (@EliotHiggins) March 20, 2023
The images demonstrate how Midjourney v5 can produce very realistic visuals while simultaneously highlighting the flaws, clearly marking them as synthetic. Most notably, the image fails to accurately depict human hands, a frequent issue for earlier iterations of the AI tool that the latest version has made major strides in correcting. A missing finger on Trump’s right hand and an oddly mangled thumb give away any pretense of reality. That’s not even counting other oddities. Trump’s right knee seems to be behind his left foot, while his back shoe treads look like a cleaner’s brush. The situation itself betrays the unreality, as it’s very unlikely a room full of people with a former president would all ignore him taking a dramatic pose in a shaft of sunlight to pray.