The war of disinformation once again threatens the American elections. Dozens of deepfakes circulating on social media show Donald Trump surrounded by black activists, according to a BBC Panorama investigation. In what appears to be a real photo at first glance, several African-Americans, all smiles, seem to support the Republican Party candidate. These false images, generated by artificial intelligence, were created and distributed by supporters of the former President of the United States.

Although there is no evidence to establish a link between this practice of disinformation and the campaign teams of the candidate for the White House, the manipulated images were shared by his supporters. Their goal is to deceive African-Americans into voting for the party of Donald Trump.

Although, at first glance, the images appear real, there are several telltale signs that they were created by generative artificial intelligence. The latter produces realistic images, generally consistent with reality, but it does not know, for example, how to draw hands well. Some fingers are missing from images. It can also add more limbs than necessary, as in the case of a person who ended up with three arms on one of them. The skin of individuals in fake photos may still appear particularly shiny.

The images have been seen by more than a million people. “If someone votes one way or another because of a photo they see on a Facebook page, that’s a problem with that person, not with the post itself,” retorts one of Trump’s supporters, Mark Kaye, to the BBC. Comments posted on Facebook show that several users believed in the authenticity of the AI ​​images, while others, not letting themselves be deceived, denounced them.

“There have been documented attempts to retarget misinformation at Black communities, particularly young Black voters,” said Cliff Albright, the co-founder of Black Voters Matter, a US organization encouraging Black people to vote. It is becoming more and more common to see attempts at manipulation during electoral periods. Practices targeting the black community were also present during the 2020 presidential election in the United States.

Eight months before the 2024 presidential election, Joe Biden’s share of the African-American vote is decreasing. The current president “receives only 83% of his 2020 voters, 10% of them saying that they now support Donald Trump”, according to a poll by the daily New York Times carried out with the American university Siena College, published this Saturday.