Experts urge Congress to clamp down on deepfakes


Don’t let the images of Pope Francis in a puffer jacket fool you, a panel of tech experts told members of Congress Wednesday as they warned lawmakers about the profound dangers posed by deepfake technology.

Deepfakes, a term referring to images, audio or video generated by artificial intelligence and designed to depict a real person or event, have become nearly ubiquitous on the internet in recent years. Some deepfake content is satirical or humorous — TikToks that imagine President Biden playing video games or the notorious image of the Pope wearing a winter coat — but deepfakes can also serve a much more nefarious purpose.

“According to one study, 96% of deepfake videos are nonconsensual pornography,” said Virginia Representative Gerry Connolly during a hearing in the House Oversight Committee’s technology subpanel Wednesday afternoon. “Another report confirms that deepfake pornography almost exclusively targets and harms young women.”

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