Midjourney, an artificial intelligence (AI) image generator capable of producing convincing deepfakes, is under scrutiny due to its policy of showing compliance with the Chinese communist government.
While platform users can create fake images of prominent world leaders such as President Biden and Vladimir Putin, they are not allowed to generate images of the Chinese President, Xi Jinping.
The CEO of Midjourney, Inc. previously explained the reasoning behind this policy in a message posted on the chat service Discord, which is over a year old.
Last summer, Midjourney CEO David Holz expressed his desire to avoid creating drama. He clarified that the company did not impose an immediate ban on generating images of Xi Jinping, but rather, the decision was prompted by misuse by users.
Holz also noted that political satire is not well-received in China and could potentially put people at risk if they were to use the platform.
The CEO further contended that the use of technology by people in China could contribute positively to the world at large. In contrast, he believed irrelevant individuals engaging in Chinese political satire would not significantly contribute to anything.
The policy prohibiting the creation of deepfakes of Xi Jinping applies to all Midjourney users worldwide, not just those based in China.
In August, Holz reiterated the company’s intent to be culturally and socially sensitive. He explained that political satire is not well-received in China, and permitting numerous individuals to exploit the platform for trolling China would not benefit anyone.
Several Discord community users expressed dissatisfaction with the restriction on generating images related to Xi Jinping.
“It sucks that the Midjourney creators are bowing to the dictator Xi Jinping,” one user wrote.
“It makes me uncomfortable to see so many deepfake Biden and Trump on MJ yet nothing is done. Only Xi is blocked,” another commented.