These look like prizewinning photos. They’re AI fakes.

Artificially generated images of real-world news events proliferate on stock image sites, blurring truth and fiction


A young Israeli woman, wounded, clinging to a soldier’s arms in anguish. A Ukrainian boy and girl, holding hands, alone in the rubble of a bombed-out cityscape. An inferno rising improbably from the tropical ocean waters amid Maui’s raging wildfires.

At a glance, they could pass as iconic works of photojournalism. But not one of them is real. They’re the product of artificial intelligence software, and they were part of a vast and growing library of photorealistic fakes for sale on one of the web’s largest stock image sites until it announced a policy change.

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