AI image generator Midjourney bans deepfakes of China’s Xi Jinping ‘to minimize drama’
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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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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“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.
“It makes me sick to see so many deepfakes of Biden and Trump on MJ and doing nothing. Only Xi is blocked,” another commented.
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.