The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

David Rosen,

DeSantis Should Take Down, Disavow Deepfakes

Public Citizen today called ond on recently declared presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to pledge not to use generative A.I. or deepfake technology to mislead or defraud the electorate – and to take down a June 5 video from his campaign that includes multiple A.I.-fabricated images of President Donald Trump embracing Dr. Anthony Fauci.

In May, Public Citizen called on the two major partiesr parties and their presidential candidates to pledge not to use generative A.I. or deepfake technology to mislead or defraud the electorate. Political operatives now have the means to produce ads with highly realistic computer-generated images, audio, and video of opponents that appear genuine, but are completely fabricated.

“Generative A.I. now poses a significant threat to truth and democracy as we know it,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “Every party and candidate should commit not to employ deceptive deepfakes, which definitionally involve tricking the public into believing something that is not true.”

Deceptive deepfakes are a categorical threat to democratic integrity and do not favor one candidate or party over another, according to Public Citizen.

Public Citizen in May also called for the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to issue a rule (FEC) to issue a rule banning candidates from using of manipulative and potentially dangerous generative A.I. technologies in campaign ads.

One particularly alarming scenario is that an “October surprise” deepfake video released shortly before Election Day could go viral – with no ability for voters to determine that it’s fake, no time for a candidate to deny it, and no way to demonstrate convincingly that it’s fake. Both parties, their presidential candidates, and the FEC can prevent this (and many other) easily foreseeable abuses of the technology by disavowing and banning deceptive deepfakes in political campaigns now.

Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people - not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country.

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