A Revealing Picture

Graphika Report

Friday December 8, 2023

A Revealing Picture

Santiago Lakatos


AI-Generated ‘Undressing’ Images Move from Niche Pornography Discussion Forums to a Scaled and Monetized Online Business

  • The creation and dissemination of synthetic non-consensual intimate imagery (NCII) has moved from a custom service available on niche internet forums to an automated and scaled online business that leverages a myriad of resources to monetize and market its services. Creators of synthetic NCII, also known as “undressing” images, manipulate existing photos and video footage of real individuals to make them appear nude without their consent.
  • A group of 34 synthetic NCII providers identified by Graphika received over 24 million unique visitors to their websites in September, according to data provided by web traffic analysis firm Similarweb. Additionally, the volume of referral link spam for these services has increased by more than 2,000% on platforms including Reddit and X since the beginning of 2023, and a set of 52 Telegram groups used to access NCII services contain at least 1 million users as of September this year.
  • We assess the primary driver of this growth is the increasing capability and accessibility of open-source artificial intelligence (AI) image diffusion models. These models allow a larger number of providers to easily and cheaply create photorealistic NCII at scale. Without such providers, their customers would need to host, maintain, and run their own custom image diffusion models - a time-consuming and sometimes expensive process.
  • Bolstered by these AI services, synthetic NCII providers now operate as a fully-fledged online industry, leveraging many of the same marketing tactics and monetization tools as established e-commerce companies. This includes advertising on mainstream social media platforms, influencer marketing, deploying customer referral schemes, and the use of online payment technologies.
  • We assess the increasing prominence and accessibility of these services will very likely lead to further instances of online harm, such as the creation and dissemination of non-consensual nude images, targeted harassment campaigns, sextortion, and the generation of child sexual abuse material.

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