More than 100,000 Deepfake nude images based on photographs of real women have been created by a AI bot running on encrypted messaging service, Telegram.
On Wednesday, security firm Sensity released a report Deepfake bots on Telegram. In it, researchers documented a network of message channels in English and Russian where 104,852 images of women had been “striped naked” via the use of an AI technology.
Users were able to send an image of women via the Telegram app on a computer or smartphone. And after a short delay, that user would receive a fake, naked image for free with a watermark.
And if a user paid $2.10 for a ‘premium coin’, they would skip the processing queue and receive an image almost immediately and without a watermark.
According to Sensity, 7 Telegram channels for the AI bot had more than 100,000 members. The main channel had more than 45,000 unique members by itself.
According to a poll in one of the channels, the majority of the users were from former USSR countries like Russia. But 3% were from English speaking countries including Australia.
The firm has reported the channels to both Telegram and law authorities, but hasn’t heard back from the tech company.
Telegram deepfake nudes making image-based abuse more accessible
It’s not clear how many of the images were non-consensual creations, a form of image-based abuse.
However, another poll conducted in one of the channels showed that two-thirds of the users used to tool to create images of “familiar girls, whom i know in real life”.
For a while now, it’s been possible to make fake pornographic images of people without their consent. Once upon a time there was analog photo editing. Then came along digital equivalents like Photoshop.
The latest development has been DeepNudes, an AI-assisted version of the Deepfakes technology for pornographic images. Sensity said the bot uses the DeepNude software to create its images.
What makes this network noteworthy is that it’s made non-consensual images of people even more accessible. Even DeepNudes was complicated and, after its developer took the software down after a backlash, difficult to access.
This report shows that now you can produce convincing convincing content for image-based abuse for free. And it’s as simple as sending a message to someone.
Gizmodo Australia has reached out to Telegram for comment.