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June 15, 2024

Midjourney, an AI image generator that can create realistic deepfakes, has recently come under scrutiny for its policies showing respect for China’s Communist government.

The company enforces a rule that users can generate fake images of world leaders from President Joe Biden to Vladimir Putin, but not Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The CEO of Midjourney, Inc. posted a year-long message on the chat service Discord explaining why the company made the rule.

“I think we want to minimize the drama,” Midjourney CEO David Holz wrote last summer. He explained that the company did not immediately ban the images of Xi Jinping, but was triggered by user abuse.

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In this photo illustration, the Midjourney logo is seen on a smartphone screen.

He added: “Political satire is pretty bad in China and in a way jeopardizes the use of the service by Chinese people.”

“I think the Chinese in general using this technology have had an impact (in a positive direction) on the world,” Holz argued. “I don’t think random people here doing Chinese political satire are going to help anything.”

The rules banning deepfakes of Xi Jinping apply to all global users, not just Chinese ones.

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David Holz speaking at Leap Motion & Conference Disappearing user interface panels during the 2013 SXSW Music, Movies + Interactive Festival at the Austin Convention Center on March 9, 2013 in Austin, Texas.

David Holz speaks on Leap Motion and the Vanishing User Interface Panel during the 2013 SXSW Music, Movies + Interactive Festival at the Austin Convention Center on March 9, 2013 in Austin, Texas.

“We’re trying to be sensitive to different societies and cultures,” Holz said in August. “Political satire is pretty taboo in China, and having lots of people using our system to attack China doesn’t help anyone.”

Some users in the Discord group expressed frustration at not being able to create Xi-related images.

“Too bad MidJourney’s creator bowed to dictator Xi Jinping,” wrote one user.

On November 19, 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the 29th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.

On November 19, 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the 29th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand. (Jupeng/Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images)

“It makes me sick to see so many deepfakes of Biden and Trump on MJ and doing nothing. Only Xi is blocked,” another commented.

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Launching in 2022, Midjourney has 11 full-time employees, according to its website. Fox News Digital reached out to Midjourney for a statement but did not hear back.

This photo taken on January 31, 2023 shows an artificial intelligence (AI) cartoonist named "root port", wearing gloves to protect his identity, showed how he makes AI comics in an interview with AFP in Tokyo. - Author of sci-fi manga to hit shelves in Japan admits he has "absolute zero" Attracting talent, so turned to artificial intelligence to create a dystopian saga.All futuristic contraptions and creatures "Cyberpunk: Peach John" Complicated rendering by Midjourney, the viral AI tool that, along with other tools like Stable Diffusion and DALL-E 2, sent the art world into turmoil.

This photo illustration taken on January 31, 2023 shows an artificial intelligence (AI) cartoonist named “Rootport” wearing gloves to protect his identity during an interview with AFP in Tokyo Shows how he makes AI comics. – The author of the soon-to-be Japanese sci-fi manga admits he has “absolutely zero” drawing talent, so he turned to artificial intelligence to create the dystopian saga. All the futuristic contraptions and creatures in “Cyberpunk: Peach John” were lovingly rendered by Midjourney, the viral AI tool that, along with other tools like Stable Diffusion and DALL-E 2, sent the art world into turmoil .



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