MrBeast called out TikTok for allowing a deepfake version of him hawking $2 iPhones to run wild on the app: ‘This is a serious problem’

  • TikTok ran an ad featuring a deepfake of MrBeast offering iPhone 15 Pros for $2.
  • As AI tech becomes more accessible, it will bring a slew of new challenges for ad-based platforms.
  • “Are social media platforms ready to handle the rise of AI deepfakes?” MrBeast asked in a post.

TikTok ran an advertisement featuring an AI-generated deepfake version of MrBeast claiming to be giving away 10,000 iPhone 15s for $2.

The sponsored video, which Insider saw on the app on Monday, appeared to be official, with MrBeast’s logo and a blue check mark next to his name. However, the signs of AI manipulation were obvious to internet users. The YouTuber’s voice was distorted, and his mouth movements were strange.

“Only boomers would fall for this shit,” one user said of the advertisement.

“Wow! “TikTok, you’re so good at moderating ads,” said another.

MrBeast, real name Jimmy Donaldson, confirmed the ad’s falsity in a social-media post.

“A lot of people are falling for this deepfake scam ad of mine… Are social media platforms equipped to deal with the rise of AI deepfakes? “This is a major issue,” he wrote.

When asked for comment, a TikTok spokesperson stated that the ad was removed within a few hours of its posting and the account associated with it was suspended for policy violations.

TikTok’s ads policy page states that it does not allow “synthetic media that contains the likeness (visual or audio) of a real person.” The company also prohibits advertisements that include trademark infringements and other forms of intellectual property infringement. “Advertisers are responsible for ensuring that any synthetic media which contains a public figure has consent from the public figure to be used in an ad in this way,” the business said in a statement.

MrBeast’s representative declined to comment.

Unauthorized AI-generated celebrity content is becoming more common in the world of platform advertising. Tom Hanks issued a warning to fans two days ago about a promotional video hawking a dental plan that featured an unapproved AI version of himself. Elon Musk and Leonardo DiCaprio have both faced similar difficulties.

As AI technology improves and becomes more widely available, the problem is likely to worsen.

“Realism, efficiency, accessibility, or democratization means that this is now essentially in the hands of everyday people,” said Henry Ajder, an academic researcher and expert in generative AI and deepfakes. “It really is a quite profound moment and this really is the tip of the iceberg.”

As a recent campaign coordinated by Lionel Messi and Lay’s demonstrates, not all AI-generated ad content featuring celebrities is inherently bad. Transparency is essential.

“If someone releases an AI-generated advert without disclosure, even if it’s perfectly benign, I still think that should be labeled and should be positioned to an audience in the way that they can understand,” he said.

TikTok is aware that AI-generated content has become pervasive on its platform, with deepfake versions of Tom Cruise, Vice President Biden, and former President Trump going viral, and AI-generated songs associated with artists such as Drake becoming commonplace.

Last month, the company released a new tool to assist creators in labeling AI content and announced that it would begin testing methods for automatically labeling AI-generated content.

“AI enables incredible creative opportunities, but can potentially confuse or mislead viewers if they’re not aware content was generated or edited with AI,” the business said in a statement.

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