Skip to content

Trump supporters use fake images to lure Black voters


Dozens of AI ‘deep fakes’

Donald Trump supporters have been creating and sharing AI-generated fake images of black voters to encourage African-Americans to vote Republican.

BBC Panorama discovered dozens of deep fakes portraying Black people as supporting the former president.

Trump has openly courted black voters, who were key to Joe Biden’s election win in 2020.

But there’s no evidence directly linking these images to Trump’s campaign.

The fake images of Black Trump supporters, generated by artificial intelligence (AI), are one of the emerging disinformation trends ahead of the US presidential election in November.

Unlike in 2016, when there was evidence of foreign influence campaigns, the AI-generated images found by the BBC appear to have been made and shared by US voters themselves.

One of them was Mark Kaye and his team at a conservative radio show in Florida.

They created an image of Trump smiling with his arms around a group of Black women at a party and shared it on Facebook, where Kaye has more than one million followers.

At first it looks real, but on closer inspection everyone’s skin is a little too shiny and there are missing fingers on people’s hands - some tell-tale signs of AI-created images.

“I’m not a photojournalist,” Kaye said. “I’m not out there taking pictures of what’s really happening. I’m a storyteller.”

He had posted an article about Black voters supporting Trump and attached this image to it, giving the impression that these people all support the former president’s run for the White House.

In the comments on Facebook, several users appeared to believe the AI image was real.

“I’m not claiming it is accurate. I’m not saying, ‘Hey, look, Donald Trump was at this party with all of these African-American voters. Look how much they love him!’” he said.

“If anybody’s voting one way or another because of one photo they see on a Facebook page, that’s a problem with that person, not with the post itself.”

Another widely viewed AI image the BBC investigation found shows Trump posing with Black voters on a front porch. It had originally been posted by a satirical account that generates images of the former president, but only gained widespread attention when it was reposted with a new caption falsely claiming that he had stopped his motorcade to meet these people.