Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States, faces criminal charges for allegedly falsifying business records. On Tuesday, he was taken into custody and pleaded not guilty to the 34 felony count charges stemming from a hush money payment to a porn actor during his 2016 presidential campaign.
The moment was so momentous that people scrambled online to try to find a mug shot of the former president, which included images falsely claiming to be of a police booking photo. Unfortunately, nothing of the sort occurred, as the former president’s mug shot was not taken during his booking and arraignment.
These images ranging from a suit and tie to a T-shirt were eventually revealed as fake. However, this fact went unnoticed by some social media users, as the images had been modified with technology to look more realistic. Among them was a picture showing Trump in an orange jumpsuit scowling, yet it was later realized that this was fabricated.
Trump even used the attention to his advantage, creating a mugshot T-shirt for his campaign to email to supporters. The shirt contained an edited headshot of the former president along with “NOT GUILTY” emblazoned on the corner.
In today’s fast-paced world of social media, it can be easy to get swept away in the moment at the expense of facts. Content created by artificial intelligence (AI) can further contribute to the fog of misinformation, as they are hard to master the difference between truth and falsehood. The reality of the situation is a stark reminder of the need to stay vigilant and check sources before sharing any questionable content.
Witness, a nonprofit specializing in video technology for human rights, is one organization working towards providing factual information to combat the flood of AI-created images. Executive director Sam Gregory spoke regarding the “context-collapse” of AI-birthed images and how quickly they can be shared and go viral without being fact-checked.
The Associated Press is another organization on the front lines of the fight against misinformation and disinformation. As part of AP’s effort to address fake news, the organization works with outside companies and organizations to verify facts, in hope of adding factual context to the content circulating online.
The former president’s mug hot not taken adds to the Trump legacy during his time in office, with his supporters and detractors just having to settle for the orange jumpsuit version created by his campaign.