The vast majority of deepfake videos aren't political, they're pornographic

(Pixabay)

While altered media has the potential to upend elections and cause civil unrest, the vast majority of its creators are using the technology to make porn.

According to a new report by cybersecurity company Deeptrace, 96% of deepfake videos online are pornography, and 100% of the subjects are women. Of those:

  • 41% are American, 25% are South Korean, and 12% are British.
  • 99% work in entertainment, and 1% in news and media.

Deeptrace found communities dedicated to creating deepfakes on Voat, 4chan, 8chan and Reddit, where the earliest communities appear to have been founded in 2017.

Open source tools and creators-for-hire have been a key driver behind the explosion of deepfake pornography. In addition to creator tools, Deeptrace discovered service portals that will create pornographic videos for a low fee. In one case, the user is asked to upload 250 images of the subject they want featured, pay $2.99, and wait up to two days for the video to be created. In other cases, individual creators will work freelance for $30 a video, or $10 for every 50 words of generated audio.

The growth of deepfake porn has been so significant that the majority of videos are hosted on sites dedicated solely to fakes, as opposed to large, mainstream porn sites. From the report:

We found that the deepfake pornography ecosystem is almost entirely supported by dedicated deepfake pornography websites, which host 13,254 of the total videos we discovered. By contrast, mainstream pornography websites only hosted 802 videos.

When looking non-pornographic deepfakes, the gender split is less severe. On YouTube, where pornography is not allowed, 61% of deepfake subjects are male. Of those:

  • 73% are American, 14% are British, and 4% are Canadian.
  • 81% are in entertainment. 12% are politicians, and 5% work in news and media.
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