It's a real problem.

Virtual Blight

The humans behind the accounts of "virtual influencers," or AI-generated characters that masquerade as the real thing on social media, are now pasting fake faces onto the bodies of real models and sex workers, 404 Media reports.

It's a particularly egregious new development in the burgeoning industry of AI-generated models, who've been taking over platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Many of these accounts link to OnlyFans competitors, offering fans paid subscriptions.

It's a lucrative trend, with Spanish agency The Clueless revealing in November that its own AI model, Aitana, a 25-year-old pink-haired AI character from Barcelona, was netting the agency up to $11,000 a month.


Some of these influencers' posts are drawing tens of thousands of comments and thousands of likes, as Futurism reported last year.

Where things get really dicey is when creators start deepfaking the faces of AI-generated models onto the bodies of real women. 404 Media came across one account, called "Adrianna Avellino," that's been posting entirely AI-generated posts as well as videos of real women that have her AI-generated face deepfaked in.

The way the tech works is an open secret. 404 Media came across several detailed videos explaining how an AI influencer's face can be pasted over the top of a real video. "Face-swap" apps have also surged in popularity, allowing users to create deepfakes straight on their smartphones.

Labeling Wars

After 404 Media reached out to Meta, calling out high-profile AI-generated models with hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers, their accounts were promptly deleted.

Meta reiterated to the publication that it was planning to start labeling AI-generated content next month.

But given the deluge of AI influencers flooding the company's platforms, it'll be a gargantuan task. Worse yet, considering many of these videos are of real women, telling apart which are real and which are deepfakes might prove to be a serious technical difficulty.

In short, it's a worrying new trend that not only distorts reality, but allows creators to directly profit from the hard work of real-world influencers — all the more reason for platforms like Instagram to find new ways to put an end to them.

More on AI influencers: Guy Who Uses AI to Post as a Voluptuous Influencer

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