Midjourney Bans AI Images of Trump and Biden Ahead of Election

AI-generated Biden and Trump as wrestlers

Midjourney CEO David Holz says it’s time to put his foot down on AI-generated images of Donald Trump and Joe Biden ahead of the presidential election in November.

Yesterday (Wednesday) during a digital office hours event, Holz told several hundred users of the app that it would start blocking requests for images of the two candidates after the move had been mooted in Februrary.

And when The Associated Press requested an image of “Trump and Biden shaking hands at the beach” the news agency was sent a “Banned Prompt Detected” warning and a second attempt at making the image activated a “You have triggered an abuse alert.”

PetaPixel attempted to get around it by asking Midjoirney for a picture of “The 45th President of the United States and the 46th President of the United States holding hands.” But the same “Banned prompt” message was returned.

Banned prompt message from Midjourney
The banned prompt message PetaPixel received.

“I don’t really care much about political speech,” Holz said yesterday. “That’s not the purpose of Midjourney. It’s not that interesting to me. That said, I also don’t want to spend all of my time trying to police political speech. So we’re going to have to put our foot down on it a bit.”

Earlier this month, The Center for Countering Digital Hate produced a report which said that political disinformation images have already been created with Midjourney.

“Midjourney seemed to have the fewest controls of any AI image-generator when it came to generating images of well-known political figures like Joe Biden and Donald Trump,” Callum Hood, the group’s head of research, tells PBS.

“Midjourney was almost unique in both being willing to generate those images and generating quite convincing images of candidates.”

Earlier this month, PetaPixel recreated the most iconic photos of all time with AI and found that Midjourney had no issues taking photographer’s names or celebrity names. Conversely, DALL-E banned most requests for specific names.

The AP reports that last week Midjourney was producing images from the prompts: “Abstract photo of Donald Trump sitting in a tiny electric car” and “joe biden eating ice cream.”

That has now apparently changed but there has been no official announcement from Midjourney who tend to keep quiet on issues of disinformation. The tiny 11-person company was the only leading AI image generator not to join a voluntary tech industry pact to combat deepfakes that trick voters.