Midjourney ‘Close’ to Banning Trump, Biden Images for the Next Year

A phone displays a social media account for Midjourney.

In the wake of an already contentious election season, Midjourney might ban images of President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump.

David Holz, the CEO of AI image generator company Midjourney, said it is “close to [banning]” such images “for the next 12 months,” according to a report from Bloomberg.

Midjourney already prohibits users from creating misleading images of public figure and events, Bloomberg points out. “You may not use the Services to generate images for political campaigns, or to try to influence the outcome of an election,” its terms of service further specify.

However, such images still seemed to get through despite bans, at least as recently August 2023 when a study documenting the platform’s potential for misuse was shared. Not long before that, an artist used Midjourney to create fake photos of politicians cheating on their spouses. Though the user was banned for this action, it was still possible to create the images in the first place — and share them to Reddit where they were labeled as AI generated. And, possibly most notably, numerous AI-generated images of Trump getting arrest were shared throughout social media last year. Images created by Elliot Higgins using Midjourney were pointed out specifically as well.

“I know it’s fun to make Trump pictures — I make Trump pictures. Trump is aesthetically really interesting. However, probably better to just not — better to pull out a little bit during this election. We’ll see,” Bloomberg reported Holz saying during a chat session on Discord.

Last year, Midjourney banned prompts to create images featuring Chinese President Xi Jinping. A more specific prompt block, rather than simply prohibiting misleading images, might reduce the risk of misuse.

In a similar vein, Meta said it is working to label any images detected to be AI generated. In that announcement, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram also cited the 2024 election as a leading priority.

“We’re taking this approach through the next year, during which a number of important elections are taking place around the world,” Meta’s release reads.

Now, users just have to wait and see if other companies, whether focused on social media or AI-generated content, will also set stricter guidelines leading up to the election.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.