Deepfake Pope Francis wears white puffa jacket

Occurred: March 2023

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An image of the Pope clad in a Belanciaga puffer jacket went viral on the internet, leading to commentary that the age of mass graphic misinformation and disinformation has arrived. 

The image was a deepfake created by 'Pablo Xavier', a Chicago-based construction worker who said he came up with the idea after taking mushrooms. Created using the Midjourney image generator, many people believed it was real

The incident persuaded Midjourney to stop free trials of its technology citing a massive influx of new users abusing free credits.

Operator: Pablo Xavier
Developer: Midjourney
Country: USA; Global
Sector: Religion
Purpose: Entertain
Technology: Deepfake - image; Generative adversarial network (GAN); Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning  
Issue: Mis/disinformation; Ethics
Transparency: Governance; Black box

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: April 2023