Fake photos of Trump with Black supporters raise AI and election concerns. (Part-2)

If you see a photo of Trump with Black folks and it's not on an official campaign or surrogate page, it didn't happen,” said Black Conservative Federation president Diante Johnson. “It’s nonsensical that the Trump campaign would need AI to show Black support.”

Experts anticipate more AI-generated deepfakes to target Latinos, women, Asian Americans, older conservatives, and other demographics in swing states that campaigns aim to attract, mislead, or intimidate. Deepfakes pose global threats as dozens of countries hold elections this year.

In January, a robocall impersonating Biden erroneously informed New Hampshire voters that voting in the primary would disqualify them from voting in the general election. A political consultant later admitted crafting the robocall, which may be the first AI-based election interference attempt.

In February, Stanford University researchers examined the possible effects of AI on Black communities and found that such content can corrode even when not believed. When individuals can't trust online visuals, they may dismiss reliable sources.

As AI-generated content becomes more prevalent and difficult to distinguish from human-generated content, individuals may become more skeptical and distrustful of the information they receive,” researchers said.

Even if it doesn't fool many voters, AI-generated content about voting, candidates, and elections can make it harder to tell fact from fiction, leading people to discount legitimate sources of information and fueling a growing distrust of democracy and political polarization.

False claims about politicians and elections are nothing new, but AI makes lifelike graphics, video, and audio faster, cheaper, and easier. AI deepfakes on TikTok, Facebook, or X can reach millions before tech firms, government officials, or respectable news outlets know about them.

AI simply accelerated and pressed fast forward on misinformation,” said Joe Paul, a business leader and champion for digital access in communities of color. Black communities have “this history of mistrust” with major institutions, including politics and media, which makes them dubious of public narratives about them and fact-checking aimed to inform them, Paul said.

Paul said digital literacy and critical thinking can counter AI-generated misinformation. “We want to empower people to critically evaluate online content. Critical thinking is disappearing in many communities, not just Black ones.”