AI Tech company Midjourney accused of bowing to Chinese government with deepfake ban

Midjourney CEO explains reason behind controversial policy on deepfakes of Chinese President Xi Jinping

AI in China

Midjourney, an AI image generator that has recently gained popularity for its ability to produce realistic images, has been criticized for its policy of showing deference to China's communist government.

In a message on the chat service Discord from last summer, Midjourney's CEO, David Holz, explained the reasoning behind this policy. According to Holz, the company initially allowed users to generate fake images of Xi but changed its policy due to abuse from users. Additionally, Holz argued that political satire is not well-received in China, and allowing users to generate deepfakes of Xi could put individuals in China in danger.

However, some experts have criticized Midjourney's policy as an example of tech companies bending to the will of authoritarian regimes. In an era where concerns over censorship and freedom of speech have become increasingly important, Midjourney's policy has raised questions over the role of technology companies in upholding democratic values.

AI in China

Despite Holz's explanation, some Midjourney users have expressed frustration over the company's policy, claiming that it is a form of deference to the Chinese government. Others have pointed out the discrepancy in allowing users to generate deepfakes of other world leaders without repercussions while specifically targeting Xi.

Holz has defended the company's policy, stating that Midjourney is trying to be sensitive to different societies and cultures. He argues that political satire is not well-received in China and that allowing users to generate deepfakes of Xi would do little to contribute to positive change.

As Midjourney continues to grow in popularity, it remains to be seen how the company will address these concerns and whether it will change its policy regarding deepfakes of Xi Jinping.