YouTube, AI, fake news, Black celebrities

As Fake News Videos Attacking Black Celebs On YouTube Increase, So Do Concerns

Black celebrities have become a popular target for AI-generated content on YouTube as it begins to crack down on the fake news videos.

A growing issue on YouTube has Black celebrities being attacked by false content conjured up by artificial intelligence (AI). The platform now hosts many videos that include manipulated media to curate fake headlines about notable Black public figures.

An investigation conducted by NBC News uncovered 12 accounts that have posted videos utilizing falsified information to garner views. While some they uncovered were merely to bait viewers to watch the content that depicts something different, others spewed defamatory statements off baseless and manipulated claims. The danger not only lies in the validity, but also the numbers of eyes watching them. Many videos attract millions of views.

The scheme is also lucrative. YouTube’s monetization policies allow for these fake news videos to accumulate a profit.

YouTube released a statement to NBC denouncing the act while also ensuring there are proper guidelines to stop such tactics.

“YouTube’s Community Guidelines set the rules of the road for what is and is not allowed on our platform, including content that contains targeted harassment or unwanted sexualization,” the statement said. 

However, AI-generated news content remains an issue, with celebrities having to release their own statements denying advertisements using deep-fakes of their voices or their participation in questionable activities. For example, videos swirled rumors of Bishop T.D. Jakes’ involvement in Diddy’s alleged sexual parties, which the mega-pastor addressed and condemned during a sermon, as reported back in December by Complex.

While YouTube has stated it is working to label these videos as synthetic media, the update has yet to be featured. However, its inclusion is becoming a growing necessity, with viewers often being unable to distinguish the truth, to the detriment of many Black celebrities.

“We’ve seen these pages that pop up on YouTube or TikTok, and they will have an AI-generated picture of Rihanna crying over A$AP [Rocky] going to jail, and it’s completely fake,” shared Angelica Nwandu, founder and CEO of Black news source The Shade Room. “Our audience will DM and say, ‘Why aren’t you posting this news?’ ‘Why aren’t you covering this story?’ Because they believe these pages.”

This trend toward targeting Black celebrities through manipulated video is degrading an already tumultuous relationship the Black community has with news media. And, given that 2024 is an election year, the rise of fake content spreading misinformation is not only harmful to Black Hollywood, but, inevitably, to Black voters.

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