Sensity claims that the bot network has already created computerized fake pictures or deepfakes of over 104,000 women. The firm has also confirmed that a “limited number” of the victims are underage.
According to Engadget, the deepfake bots have seen an alarming upsurge in traffic by 200% within the last three months. A driving factor behind this is that the bots are free to use and are accessible on most phones.
Sensity ascertained that about 70% of the deepfake bot user base lies in Russia, despite the country unblocking Telegram only recently. What is more concerning is that the bot network has also crept into Russia’s biggest social networking website, VK.
However, the bots have not yet managed to gain a foothold in English-speaking countries such as the UK, the US, Australia, etc.
Sensity speculates that the Telegram bots could be using the same machine-learning algorithm used by the infamous DeepNude application. Although DeepNude was taken down in June 2019, the source code remains available on various torrent sites and open-source repositories.
With the advancement in AI continually bridging the gap between real and fake media, deepfakes have recently pervaded the internet in various forms, ranging from morphed videos of politicians to explicit images of celebrities.
Therefore, it is imperative that platforms such as Telegram take effective steps to crack down on illicit content and ensure a secure social environment online.