This photograph, which has over one milion likes on Facebook, shows a man in an outdoor sawmill kneeling next to the wooden carving of a German Shepherd that he painstakingly created.
But this image is not real — it’s AI-generated and it keeps getting shared on the platform.
According to a fascinating report by Jason Koebler at 404 media, this AI-generated image has been posted dozens of times across “engagement-bait” pages on Facebook.
However, in every image, the man and dog are slightly different. On some occasions, the man sits on the other side of his wooden carving. While the man looks completely different in other versions of the AI image.
In further versions of the picture, the man’s carving depicts a bulldog rather than a German Shepherd.
Regardless, these different variations of the same AI image keep being circulated, and frequently going viral, on Facebook.
Facebook users, who are completely unaware that the image is fake, have unanimously praised the AI-generated man’s “amazing talent” and his “wonderful work” with the carving of the dog in the comments section.
It Was Once a Real Photo
According to Koebler at 404 media, the dog and the carving were real at one point.
The real German Shepherd carving was created by professional chainsaw sculptor named Michael Jones who is based in the U.K. Jones documented his work in a series of videos and photos posted on Facebook over the summer.
However, Jones’ work has since been stolen by spam Facebook pages presumably for their own monetary gain and transformed into endless variations using AI technology.
Koebler at 404 media believes that this particular case reveals how Facebook is being increasingly overrun with stolen, AI-generated images that people think are real.
Facebook is being overrun with stolen, AI-generated images that people think are real. Engagement bait pages use a "seed" image, clone it, then post it dozens of times across pages. People on FB think it's real. https://t.co/URFZoypoVs
— Jason Koebler (@jason_koebler) December 18, 2023
“In many ways, this is a tale as old as time: people lie and steal content online in exchange for likes, influence, and money all the time,” Koebler writes in the piece.
“But the spread of this type of content on Facebook over the last several months has shown that the once-prophesized future where cheap, AI-generated trash content floods out the hard work of real humans is already here, and is already taking over Facebook.
“It also shows Facebook is doing essentially nothing to help its users decipher real content from AI-generated content masquerading as real content, and that huge masses of Facebook users are completely unprepared for our AI-generated future.”