No, That’s Not Taylor Swift Peddling Le Creuset Cookware

No, That's Not Taylor Swift Peddling Le Creuset Cookware

Taylor Swift’s affinity for Le Creuset is real: her collection of cookware has been featured on a Tumblr account dedicated to the pop star’s home decor, in an in-depth analysis of her kitchen published by Variety, and in a Netflix documentary called Le Creuset. Was highlighted. Facebook page.

What’s not real: Ms. Swift’s endorsement of the company’s products, which has appeared in ads featuring her face and voice on Facebook and elsewhere in recent weeks.

These ads are just one of many celebrity-centric scams that have been made even more believable by artificial intelligence. Within a single week in October, the actor Tom HanksJournalist gayle king and YouTube personality mrbeast All said their AI versions were used, without permission, for misleading dental plan promotions, iPhone giveaway offers and other advertisements.

In Ms. Swift’s case, experts said, artificial intelligence technology helped create a synthetic version of the singer’s voice, which was combined with footage of her with a clip showing a Le Creuset Dutch oven. In several ads, Ms. Swift’s cloned voice addressed “Swifties” – her fans – and said she was “thrilled” to distribute the free cookware set. All people had to do was click a button and answer a few questions before the end of the day.

Le Creuset said it was not involved with the singer for any consumer gifts. The company urged buyers to check its official online accounts before clicking on suspicious advertisements. Representatives of Ms. Swift, who was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year in 2023, did not respond to requests for comment.

Celebrities have lent their celebrity to advertisers for as long as advertising has existed. Sometimes, this has happened reluctantly. More than three decades ago, Tom Waits sued Frito-Lay — and won nearly $2.5 million — because the corn chip company copied the singer in a radio commercial without his permission. The Le Creuset scam campaign also included fabricated versions of Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey, who posted in 2022 a frustrating video Regarding the prevalence of fake social media advertisements, emails, and websites falsely claiming that they endorsed weight loss gummies.

In the past year, major advances in artificial intelligence have made it much easier to create an unauthorized digital replica of a real person. Audio spoofs are particularly easy to create and difficult to detect, said Siwei Liu, a computer science professor who runs the Media Forensics Lab at the University at Buffalo.

The Le Creuset scam campaign was likely created using a text-to-speech service, Dr. Lew said. Such tools typically translate a script into an AI-generated voice, which can be incorporated into existing video footage using a lip-syncing program.

“These devices are becoming very accessible these days,” Dr. Lew said, adding that it’s possible to create a “decent quality video” in less than 45 minutes. “It’s becoming a lot easier, and that’s why we’re seeing more.”

Dozens of separate but similar Le Creuset scam ads featuring Ms. Swift — many of them posted this month — began appearing on Meta’s public ad library late last week. (The company owns Facebook and Instagram.) The campaign also ran on TikTok.

The ads sent viewers to websites mimicking legitimate outlets such as the Food Network, which featured fabricated customer testimonials as well as fake news coverage of Le Creuset offers. Participants were asked to pay a “small shipping fee of $9.96” for the cookware. Those who complied faced hidden monthly fees without receiving the promised cookware.

Some fake Le Creuset ads, such as one imitating interior designer Joanna Gaines, had a misleading aura of legitimacy on social media, thanks to labels identifying them as sponsored posts or originating from verified accounts.

In April, the Better Business Bureau caution Consumers think fake celebrity scams made with AI were “more believable than ever”. Victims were often charged more than expected and had no trace of the product they ordered. Bankers have also reported attempts by swindlers to use voice deepfakes, or synthetic replicas of real people’s voices, to commit financial fraud.

In the last year, many well-known people have publicly distanced themselves from Advertisement Featuring their AI-manipulated likeness or voice.

This summer, fake ads spread online that purportedly featured country singer Luke Combs promoting weight loss gummies recommended by fellow country musician Lanny Wilson. Posted by Ms Wilson an instagram video He condemned the advertisements, saying that “people will do anything to make a dollar, even if it’s a lie.” Mr. Combs’ manager Chris Cappy also posted an instagram video Gummy denied involvement in the campaign and accused foreign companies of using artificial intelligence to replicate Mr. Combs’s likeness.

“AI is a scary thing to other managers and they are using it against us,” he wrote.

A spokesperson for TikTok said that the app advertising policy Advertisers are required to obtain consent for “any synthetic media that involves a public figure”, which includes TikTok community standardsCreators are required to disclose “synthetic or manipulated media depicting realistic scenes”.

Meta said it took action on ads that violate it policies, which prohibits content that uses public figures in a deceptive manner to defraud users out of money. The company said it has taken legal steps against some perpetrators of such schemes, but added that malicious ads are often able to evade Meta’s review systems by hiding their content.

With no federal laws to address AI scams, lawmakers have proposed legislation that would aim to limit their damage. Two bills introduced in Congress last year — the Deepfake Accountability Act in the House and the No Fakes Act in the Senate — would require guardrails such as content labels or permission to use someone’s voice or image.

At least nine states, including California, Virginia, Florida and Hawaii, have laws regulating AI-generated content.

For now, Ms. Swift will likely remain a popular subject of AI experimentation. Synthetic versions of his voice appear regularly on TikTok, performing songs he never sang, giving critics a colorful voice-over and serving as phone ringtones. An English-language interview he gave on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” in 2021 was dubbed with a synthetic rendition of his Mandarin-speaking voice. One website charges up to $20 for personalized voice messages from an “AI clone of Taylor Swift,” promising that “the voice you hear is indistinguishable from the real thing.”

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