Fake Influencers: AI On Social Media

October 23, 2023 | blog | By Mike Sullivan

Imagine this: you just got home from work and want to relax and unwind. You kick off your shoes, throw on some sweatpants, and crash on the couch to scroll on your favorite social apps. Almost an hour goes by. You’ve watched videos on YouTube, scrolled through your feed on TikTok, and liked a few pics on Instagram. Unknowingly, everything you’ve consumed, from the countless selfies and memes to the fun video you just watched about girl dinner, was generated solely by AI. This may sound like a weird sci-fi tale, but it’s not as far-fetched as you might think.

It seems a bit redundant that platforms designed to instantly connect people from all corners of the globe would see AI where there was once human interaction, but AI and virtual influencers are already out there, garnering millions of views and engagement. And while this isn’t necessarily bad, it’s not exactly good either.

Social Media & AI.

If you’re active on social media, you might have already encountered an AI influencer or content creator while scrolling. Since this is a pretty new occurrence, there aren’t any regulations or restrictions for these accounts. They acquire and license a person’s likeness and using the same technology used for deep fakes and AI, place their face on existing videos made by other very real creators and influencers. This leaves the door open for copyright infringements since these AI creators cannot make believable content without stealing and repurposing other people’s content.

Companies like Meta have joined in with full force, recently announcing a roster of celebrity AI alter egos that you can interact with. If you need a friend to talk to, instead of Kendall Jenner, you can chat with her AI equivalent, Billie. If you want sports opinions, just hit up Tom Brady’s Bru.

These celebrities are paid millions of dollars for their likeness so that they can be “accessible” to their fans at any given moment, each with their unique accounts on Meta platforms.

Why AI Influencers Can Be Dangerous.

One of the main reasons influencers exist is that brands and companies want to reach their audiences in a more relatable and human way than traditional methods. For those in the advertising, PR, and marketing industries, lying to consumers is a big no-no. So, letting AI run wild to produce hyper-realistic and believable content that tricks consumers into thinking they’re viewing real people sets off alarm bells for all of us.

There’s also the issue of morality. Platforms already struggle with regulating unwanted content due to AI-driven bots flooding comment sections and spamming with fake accounts. Will it only worsen with the added ability to steal and repurpose peoples’ content? Will we see an AI disclaimer, similar to how paid ads and brand partnerships must be made known to viewers, added to this kind of content in the future? The truth is that no one actually knows. Social Media is constantly evolving, driven by users and how they use it.

What Does AI Think About Being On Social Media?

We can all generally agree on what we think about AI, but what does AI think? After all, it’s everywhere now. In the spirit of good fun, I asked jasper.ai to summarize its viewpoint on the subject. Here’s what it had to say:

The rise of AI influencers on social media is a notable trend, reflecting the significant advancements in artificial intelligence technology. These virtual entities, capable of mimicking human behavior, have the potential to reshape our social media landscape. They can provide entertainment and marketing opportunities around the clock, without the limitations or unpredictability of human influencers.

However, despite the potential benefits of AI influencers, there are indeed drawbacks to consider. The primary concern is the issue of deception.

Since AI influencers can convincingly imitate human behavior, audiences may be led to believe they are interacting with a real person, which can cause feelings of manipulation once the truth is revealed. Furthermore, the rise of AI influencers could potentially lead to the loss of jobs for human influencers and those working in the traditional advertising industry. Finally, the use of AI influencers might also contribute to a more homogenized social media environment, as their behavior patterns, based on algorithms, could lack the individual quirks and unpredictability that make human influencers relatable and appealing.

Other than predicting the demise of traditional ad jobs, I can agree with jasper.ai. Conversations on the ethics and morality of letting AI create content that’s seemingly deceptive or manipulative are important when looking to how we can use AI as a helpful tool. AI isn’t a trend that will fade quickly, most of us are already prepared to implement its various uses into our work for the rest of our careers.

MIKE SULLIVAN is president and CEO at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency and a top Dallas advertising agency for digital, social, mobile and user experience. For more about challenger branding, advertising, and marketing, leadership, culture, and other inspirations that will drive your success, visit our blog BARK! The Voice of the Underdog and catch up on all of our posts.

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Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


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