Facebook users say ‘Amen’ to weird AI-generated images of Jesus

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Extremely muscular cow. A shark jumping out of a muddy sea. Shrimp Jesus: Alien images that appear to have been created by artificial intelligence are causing a backlash on Facebook, leaving users confused, confused and scammed.

Most of the images come from dozens of Facebook pages that post almost every hour of the day, many of them focused on topics including Jesus and flight attendants. Some of these pages have built massive followings in recent months, with posts often containing comments ranging from bot-like praise to snide remarks aimed at users who think the photos are real.

The images have received millions of engagements on the platform, according to a new analysis by the Stanford Internet Observatory, which studied 120 such pages, some of which appear to be run by the same administrators.

Intricate artistic representations of Jesus, whether made from plastic bottles or carved from sand, are among the most common images. More recently, Jesus has taken the form of sea creatures, specifically crabs, crabs, and seahorses. “Made it with my own hands! 😊,” these posts claim, often lamenting, “No one likes my artwork 😭😭.”

And female flight attendants, most of whom appear to be East Asian, are often depicted praying with Jesus, holding crosses and covered in mud. In what looks like a crossover event, some photos even show flight attendants posing with Shrimp Jesus.

Also particularly popular are photos of young black children showing off their creations, such as Jesus fruit cars, plastic bottle cars, and tigers made of tires. These “boys from Africa” ​​are πŸ’ͺ of the best designer in the village β€οΈπŸ‘πŸ’ͺπŸ™, according to the caption on some posts, which keep declaring, “Made it with my own hands!”

Many of the AI ​​images attract users commenting “amen” to strange Jesus images, praising the inspiring work of non-existent artists or wishing happy birthday to fake children sitting longingly in the mud. . 404 Media, a technology-based news startup, first reported on AI images flooding Facebook.

The majority of artificial images in posts or on pages do not indicate that they are AI-generated, although Meta requires users to label AI-generated content on their platforms when they post such content. is working on ways to automatically detect

Meta did not respond to a request for comment.

As creative AI technology makes it easier to spread misleading content and outright misinformation, information researchers have grown concerned about the implications of unchecked AI images flooding social platforms.

While certain AI-generated art marks can make it easier to tell real photos from fake ones, the lack of systematic labeling is causing some users β€” especially the elderly β€” to fall for fake content, comments on many posts say. According to. These Facebook pages haven’t revealed clear objectives for their AI spam, but users are already identifying potential scam operations.

The Stanford study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, also found that some of the photos posted by Facebook pages were stolen from other people or organizations, including a Georgia church and a VND. The mill seller is also included, and then reproduced in AI. Spam pages.

One such page, now filled with AI images of Jesus and flight attendants, named a high school band in North Carolina. Davie County Schools spokeswoman Karen Jarvis confirmed in an email that the Davie High School War Eagle Bands page is no longer affiliated with the school, forcing a new page to be created.

“Actually, this was the original DCHS band Facebook page, but was hijacked by our high school band, and has since become what you see today,” Jarvis wrote. Numerous attempts have been made (by the band director, school officials, current band members, and alumni) to regain control, report the page/photos, etc., but Facebook has not responded. “

This trend has also led some observers to speculate that these pages are luring abusers to identify potential targets for the scam.

β€œAI-generated content is a boon for spam and scam actors because images are easy to create, often visually appealing, and attract engagement,” the Stanford researchers wrote in their preprint paper. “

He wrote that these pages use a “batch of unauthentic followers” to make themselves look more legitimate as well as engage with genuine commenters, and that scam accounts sometimes impersonate commenters. Obtain personal information from or attempt to sell them counterfeit products.

An NBC News search found multiple responses from accounts asking commenters to be friends, each using a similar script. One commenter wrote, “Love it!! How cute!!” An AI-generated photo of a toddler snuggled up in a basket of kittens received a response within hours from a recently created account called Stephen Townsend. The account, which did not respond to a request for comment, did not display any personal information or posts other than a profile and cover photo, both of which were uploaded on the same day.

“Hi, I’m really impressed with your profile and personality. I also appreciate your sense of humor here. I don’t usually write in the comment section, but I think you deserve this compliment. ” replied the profile. “I want to be your friend. Please send me a friend request. If you don’t mind. Thanks.”

This is the same style of comments found on Facebook, which are usually left as replies to popular AI posts as well as comments directly on users’ profile pages. Some users suspect that these pages are running a possible scam campaign and are even leaving their comments to warn people who might be unable to distinguish some images as AI-generated.

Hazel Thayer, a Facebook user who shared several strange photos on TikTok when she saw them in her feed a few weeks ago, said she now gets AI photos like every 10 posts: “I just scroll through I just got one – it was four posts.

And from his perspective, it sure looks like some fake activity.

“Because if you look at the comments from these friggin’ crab Jesuses, all these people are going ‘Amen,'” Thayer said. “I don’t think anyone is going ‘Hallelujah’ to our shrimp owner.”

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