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Happy World Social Media Day! Today’s a day about celebrating the life-long friendships you’ve made thanks to social media. Social media was invented to help users meet new people with shared interests, stay in touch, and learn more about world. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, TikTok, LinkedIn, and the trailblazing MySpace have all certainly succeeded in those aims.

This is the first World Social Media Day where artificial intelligence (AI) joins the party. AI has existed in many forms for decades, but it’s only recently that AI-powered apps and tools are available in the pockets and homes of just about everyone. ChatGPT, Voice.ai, DALL-E, and others are certainly fun to play with and can even speed up your workday. 

While scrolling through hilarious videos and commenting on your friends’ life milestones are practically national pastimes, some people are making it their pastime to fill our favorite social media feeds with AI-generated content. Not all of it is malicious, but some AI-generated social media posts are scams. 

Here are some examples of common AI-generated content that you’re likely to encounter on social media.

AI Voice Generation

Have you scrolled through your video feed and come across voices that sound exactly like the current and former presidents? And are they playing video games together? Comic impersonators can be hilariously accurate with their copycatting, but the voice track to this video is spot on. This series of videos, created by TikToker Voretecks, uses AI voice generation to mimic presidential voices and pit them against each other to bring joy to their viewers.1 In this case, AI-generated voices are mostly harmless, since the videos are in jest. Context clues make it obvious that the presidents didn’t gather to hunt rogue machines together.

AI voice generation turns nefarious when it’s meant to trick people into thinking or acting a certain way. For example, an AI voiceover made it look like a candidate for Chicago mayor said something inflammatory that he never said.2 Fake news is likely to skyrocket with the fierce 2024 election on the horizon. Social media sites, especially Twitter, are an effective avenue for political saboteurs to spread their lies far and wide to discredit their opponent.

Finally, while it might not appear on your social media feed, scammers can use what you post on social media to impersonate your voice. According to McAfee’s Beware the Artificial Imposters Report, a scammer requires only three seconds of audio to clone your voice. From there, the scammer may reach out to your loved ones with extremely realistic phone calls to steal money or sensitive personal information. The report also found that of the people who lost money to an AI voice scam, 36% said they lost between $500 and $3,000.

To keep your voice out of the hands of scammers, perhaps be more mindful of the videos or audio clips you post publicly. Also, consider having a secret safe word with your friends and family that would stump any would-be scammer.

Deepfake

Deepfake, or the alteration of an existing photo or video of a real person that shows them doing something that never happened, is another tactic used by social media comedians and fake news spreaders alike. In the case of the former, one company founded their entire business upon deepfake. The company is most famous for its deepfakes of Tom Cruise, though it’s evolved into impersonating other celebrities, generative AI research, and translation.3 

When you see videos or images on social media that seem odd, look for a disclaimer – either on the post itself or in the poster’s bio – about whether the poster used deepfake technology to create the content. A responsible social media user will alert their audiences when the content they post is AI generated. 

Again, deepfake and other AI-altered images become malicious when they cause social media viewers to think or act a certain way. Fake news outlets may portray a political candidate doing something embarrassing to sway voters. Or an AI-altered image of animals in need may tug at the heartstrings of social media users and cause them to donate to a fake fundraiser. Deepfake challenges the saying “seeing is believing.”

ChatGPT and Bot Accounts 

ChatGPT is everyone’s favorite creativity booster and taskmaster for any writing chore. It is also the new best friend of social media bot accounts. Present on just about every social media platform, bot accounts spread spam, fake news, and bolster follower numbers. Bot accounts used to be easy to spot because their posts were unoriginal and poorly written. Now, with the AI-assisted creativity and excellent sentence-level composition of ChatGPT, bot accounts are sounding a lot more realistic. And the humans managing those hundreds of bot accounts can now create content more quickly than if they were writing each post themselves.

In general, be wary when anyone you don’t know comments on one of your posts or reaches out to you via direct message. If someone says you’ve won a prize but you don’t remember ever entering a contest, ignore it.

Take Every Post With a Grain of Salt

With the advent of mainstream AI, everyone should approach every social media post with skepticism. Be on the lookout for anything that seems amiss or too fantastical to be true. And before you share a news item with your following, conduct your own background research to assert that it’s true.

To protect or restore your identity should you fall for any social media scams, you can trust McAfee+. McAfee+ monitors your identity and credit to help you catch suspicious activity early. Also, you can feel secure in the $1 million in identity theft coverage and identity restoration services.

Social media is a fun way to pass the time, keep up with your friends, and learn something new. Don’t be afraid of AI on social media. Instead, laugh at the parodies, ignore and report the fake news, and enjoy social media confidently!

1Business Insider, “AI-generated audio of Joe Biden and Donald Trump trashtalking while gaming is taking over TikTok”  

2The Hill, “The impending nightmare that AI poses for media, elections

3Metaphysic, “Create generative AI video that looks real

 

 

 

 

 

 

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