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Tech Executive: AI Images Of Taylor Swift Require Censorship

Graham Perdue
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The infamous deepfake explicit images of pop superstar Taylor Swift circulating on the internet presented a new opportunity to demand tech censorship. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella urged new “guardrails” to surround technology and artificial intelligence. 

Interviewed by NBC News’ Lester Holt for a segment to air Tuesday, Nadella suggested a fresh round of restrictions. Nadella said the industry’s responsibility “is all of the guardrails that we need to place around the technology so that there’s more safe content that’s being produced.”

The call was for a convergence of “law and law enforcement and tech platforms” to facilitate their goals. In other words, more heavy-handed Big Tech censorship.


The Swift images originated from a Telegram group chat by users utilizing Microsoft’s generative-AI program Designer, according to 404 Media. Now the CEO wants to rein in the capability.

Microsoft in a statement said its Code of Conduct “prohibits the use of our tools for the creation of adult or non-consensual intimate content, and any repeated attempts to produce content that goes against our policies may result in loss of access to the service.”

The company said it is producing content filters, operational monitoring and ways to detect disapproved uses of its products.

Swift’s legions of fans, known as “Swifties,” responding to the proliferation of deepfake depictions of their favorite singer on X, formerly Twitter. 


Using the #ProtectTaylorSwift hashtag, users began posting numerous images of her depicted in a much more positive light. Many are also reporting accounts that distributed the deepfakes.

A group that works to counter deepfake imagery, Reality Defender, reported it detected massive troves of this pornographic material purporting to be Swift. The organization’s Mason Allen noted that “unfortunately, they spread to millions and millions of users” before some were taken down.

The images were also posted on Facebook and various other social media platforms. 

Rolling Stone’s Brittany Spanos teaches a college course on Swift at New York University. She predicted that “this could be a huge deal if she really does pursue it in court.”

Swift threatened legal action against the creators, a far more responsible retaliation as opposed to censorship and prior restraint. In 2017, she won a landmark jury case against a radio station DJ she accused of groping her.

The $1 award was immeasurably symbolic, according to her attorney Douglas Baldridge. It became a trend in “MeToo” lawsuits that followed Swift’s successful action.