Al-generated images of fake ’employees’ appear on company websites

  • Some companies are using AI technology to put fake “personal” on their “about us” pages.
  • An Insider report by Evan Ratliff found numerous examples of companies using such images.
  • A business owner said he added fake employees to make his business look bigger than it really was.

Some companies use fake AI-generated images of “staff” that don’t exist on their “about us” pages in an effort to make their company look bigger.

An investigation by Evan Ratliff for Insider found that companies were using Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) software to create AI-generated images on their websites to make these “people” look like members of the personal.

Ratliff spoke to Lukas, the man behind an Austrian test prep company called takeIELTS, who confirmed he had used several fake images on his “about us” page. Ratliff noticed several anomalies in the “employees”, one wearing only one earring and the other with one side of his face shaved closer than the other.

Although the company seems to have received many positive reviews from legitimate customers, Lukas told Ratliff that the impression of a large workforce improves the credibility of takeIELTS: “It sends the right message, namely that it is a great company working with professionals.”

“That, I guess, was most likely the raison d’etre for many ‘about us’ sites,” Ratliff noted, adding that some companies might want to “project a level of diversity they’ve never had before.” by expanding the lists of personnel.

Ratliff said when he registered for takeIELTS months later, Lukas removed all the fake images and changed the company name.

The use of GANs to create “non-existent people” online has proliferated in recent years alongside the growing capabilities of AI, but they are typically used as part of a scam or for the purpose of influencing elections.

“They are not meant to impersonate anyone, or steal an identity. They are meant to impersonate everyone, to mimic the fundamentals of human appearance with increasing fidelity,” wrote Ratliff.

The website of another company, Informa Systems, which sold law enforcement training materials to the Austin City Police Department, was covered in fake images. An image of the company’s supposed marketing director, “Roger Tendul”, had appeared on 30 other sites, Ratliff found. Only one Informa Systems employee, Mark Connolly, appeared to be real.

Ratliff said there are now companies developing software aimed at detecting fake images on company websites and elsewhere on the Internet.

Read Evan Ratliff’s full report: Who in the world is Albertina Geller? How artificial intelligence is being used to create a whole new kind of online counterfeit

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