Midjourney Blocks Biden and Trump Images Generation Ahead of Election

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Key Takeaways

  • Midjourney blocks fake images of Biden and Trump amid election concerns.
  • CEO Holz cites moderation complexity in addressing political content.
  • Despite efforts, Midjourney faces criticism over political image control.

Popular AI image generator Midjourney will prevent users from creating fake images of President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

According to the Associated Press, his move comes amidst concerns over the potential abuse of generative AI tools for political misinformation amid the upcoming U.S. election.

Midjourney CEO David Holz addressed several hundred users during a recent digital office hours event. He stated the need to restrict election-related content temporarily. Holz emphasized the complexity of moderation efforts, acknowledging the company’s challenges in combating misuse of the tool.

Although specific policy changes were not detailed, attempts by Associated Press journalists to generate images of “Trump and Biden shaking hands at the beach” triggered warnings of a “Banned Prompt Detected” and subsequent abuse alerts.

Moreover, some users on Twitter stated that before the ban, Midjourney believed Trump was the current president.

Midjourney, a company with just 11 employees, has previously been criticized for its lack of control over political figures in image generation.

According to Callum Hood, head of research at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, Midjourney’s image generator demonstrated fewer safeguards than other AI tools. The watchdog group’s report highlighted Midjourney’s susceptibility to producing convincing images of political candidates, contributing to potential disinformation.

Midjourney’s Recent Issues

While Midjourney has yet to comment on the recent changes formally, users have reported receiving warnings when attempting to create Biden or Trump images. The company’s public database previously allowed users to generate various images, including depictions of political figures engaging in specific activities.

Unlike other image-generating platforms, Midjourney operates within public forums on the Discord platform, where users can view each other’s prompts and images. With over 19 million members, Midjourney’s Discord group, led by Holz, hosts weekly office hours, covering topics ranging from AI to the future of humanity.

Founded in 2020, Midjourney describes itself as an independent research lab focused on exploring new mediums of thought through generative AI technology. Despite efforts to ban offensive content, the company grapples with moderation issues and user complaints.