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Google’s search algorithm sees deepfake porn as helpful content

More needs to be done to combat the prevalence and discoverability of deepfake pornography

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Let’s not beat around the bush: We all love the internet. It’s a treasure trove of information, a place where we meet friends, and it offers us a good laugh at silly memes.

But every now and then, it feels like we’ve opened a can of worms, and what pops out isn’t exactly a laugh riot.

Case in point: a recent report by Arstechnica has revealed a gross misstep by Google and Bing. Turns out, they’ve been putting nonconsensual deepfake porn at the top of their search results. And yes, it’s as bad as it sounds.

A deep dive into the NBC News investigation revealed that out of 36 popular female celebrities’ names coupled with terms like “deep fake,” “deep fake porn,” and “fake nudes,” 34 Google searches and 35 Bing searches led to explicit deep fake content.

And we’re not talking about buried links or images; these were front and center, hogging the limelight of the prime real estate that is the first page of search results.

Deepfakes ai daisy ridley
Image: TrustedReviews

What is Deepfake porn?

For the uninitiated, deepfake porn involves pasting a person’s face onto the body of another in a pornographic video or image — all without the person’s consent.

The internet, apparently, has a black market for this kind of stuff, with popular deepfake websites and forums acting as the seedy underbelly.

Not to be outdone, Windows Central added more fuel to the fire. Not only were deep fakes of popular celebrities being peddled, but also “fake nude photos of former teen Disney Channel female actors.”

Even Microsoft’s AI assistant Copilot, although refusing to display deepfake porn directly, listed links that could lead users down the rabbit hole.

Now, before you go all ‘Black Mirror’ on us, both Google and Bing do offer victims the option to request the removal of nonconsensual content through online forms. But critics argue this is a mere drop in the ocean.

More needs to be done to combat the prevalence and discoverability of deepfake pornography, as this issue starts to impact not just celebrities but also average Joes and Janes.

Interestingly, when NBC News reached out to Google, the tech giant acknowledged the issue and stated that they are working to strengthen protections on Search.

However, despite these assurances, the fact remains that tech giants have been slow to curb the rise of these deepfakes.

Have any thoughts on this? Drop us a line below in the comments, or carry the discussion to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Kevin is KnowTechie's founder and executive editor. With over 15 years of blogging experience in the tech industry, Kevin has transformed what was once a passion project into a full-blown tech news publication. Shoot him an email at kevin@knowtechie.com or find him on Mastodon or Post.

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