The social media platform, X (formerly Twitter), has taken temporary measures to block searches for pop musician, Taylor Swift, after AI-generated, sexually explicit images of the singer surfaced on the platform.
Users attempting to search for Taylor Swift on the platform received an error message, indicating that the action is a precautionary measure to prioritise safety. Joe Benarroch, Head of Business Operations at X, noted that the block was a temporary action, and it was implemented with an abundance of caution.
The move comes in response to the proliferation of explicit, deepfake images of Taylor Swift on social media over the past week, with one image reportedly viewed 47 million times before the associated account was suspended.
White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, has expressed concern over the fake images, describing them as “alarming.” She stated that social media companies bear a responsibility to prevent the spread of such misinformation and stressed that lax enforcement disproportionately affects women.
The incident highlights the ongoing challenges social media platforms face in moderating content, particularly when it comes to deepfakes or manipulated images. The platform’s decision to restrict searches for Taylor Swift aligns with the broader discussion on balancing freedom of speech with measures to prevent the dissemination of harmful or misleading content on social media.
Elon Musk, who acquired Twitter in 2022, has faced criticism for his approach to content moderation, and X has implemented policies like “freedom of speech, not reach” to navigate these challenges.
The temporary search restrictions coincide with Taylor Swift’s expected attendance at an NFL playoff game featuring the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens.