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The White House said this afternoon that legislation needs to be passed to protect people from fake sexual images generated by AI. The statement from White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre came in response to a question about the spread of fake erotic photos of Taylor Swift on social media this week.
Jean-Pierre described the incident as “alarming” and said it is one of the AI issues the Biden administration is prioritizing.
“Of course Congress must take legislative action,” Jean-Pierre said. “That’s how you deal with some of these issues.” He did not mention any specific legislation the White House was supporting.
“Obviously, there should be legislation to deal with this issue.”
The photos spread across X in particular on Wednesday night, with one receiving 45 million views before being removed. The platform was slow to respond, with the post being held up for nearly 17 hours. The images later spread to smaller accounts and are still available on X.
Jean-Pierre said social media platforms “have an important role to play in enforcing their own rules” to prevent this type of content from spreading. “We know that laxity disproportionately impacts women and girls, who, sadly, are the overwhelming targets of online harassment and abuse,” she said in a briefing with journalists.
Jean-Pierre said the White House had previously launched a task force to address online harassment. But it was clear that this was a patchwork approach. “There obviously needs to be legislation to deal with this issue,” he said.
Congress has criticized social media platforms for their moderation practices for years, but the body has so far been unable to agree and pass rules in response. Support for Taylor Swift may be bipartisan, but it’s not clear it will be enough to produce an actual bill.