𝗧𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘀𝗺𝗶𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗟𝗶𝗻𝗸𝗲𝗱𝗜𝗻 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗳𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝗳𝗮𝗰𝗲 𝗺𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗯𝗲 𝗮 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝘂𝘁𝗲𝗿-𝗴𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗳𝗮𝗸𝗲
I came across this neat article by NPR about LinkedIn profile headshots, and how a ton of them are computer-generated.
Some key takeaways I thought were interesting included:
1️⃣ Many of the LinkedIn profiles seem to have a far more mundane purpose: drumming up sales for companies big and small.
2️⃣ By using fake profiles, companies can cast a wide net online without beefing up their own sales staff or hitting LinkedIn’s limits on messages. Accounts can send messages to potential customers, and anyone who takes the bait gets connected to a real salesperson who tries to close the deal. Think telemarketing for the digital age.
3️⃣ Demand for online sales leads exploded during the pandemic as it became hard for sales teams to pitch their products in person.
4️⃣ More than 70 businesses were listed as employers on these fake profiles. Several told NPR they had hired outside marketers to help with sales. They said they hadn’t authorized any use of computer-generated images, however, and many were surprised to learn about them when NPR asked.
5️⃣ A recent study found faces made by AI have become “indistinguishable” from real faces. People have just a 50% chance of guessing correctly whether a face was created by a computer — no better than flipping a coin.
6️⃣ Their study also found people consider computer-made faces slightly more trustworthy than real ones. Farid suspects that’s because the AI sticks to the most average features when creating a face.
7️⃣ Fake profiles are not a new phenomenon on LinkedIn. Like other social networks, it has battled against bots and people misrepresenting themselves. But the growing availability and quality of AI-generated photos creates new challenges for online platforms. And, it’s big business! Some make upwards of $1,300 a month selling fake avatars.
8️⃣ As prosaic as it is to use computer-generated profiles to sell things, the spread of the technology worries digital forensics experts. As AI advances, researchers expect it to become harder to detect computer-created images with the naked eye — not to mention fake audio and video.
✳️ Final thoughts: These computer-generated LinkedIn profile photos illustrate how a technology that has been used to propagate misinformation and harassment online has made its way to the corporate world. From a business perspective, making social media accounts with computer-generated faces has its advantages: It’s cheaper than hiring multiple people to create real accounts, and the images are convincing. But c’mon, the ethical side of this seems alarming. It’s the beginning of what is coming next, which is full blown audio-video deepfakes targeted to a specific person.
🎙️Also, check out the article to also see how NPR dug into to identify a real “fake” profile including how they came to their conclusion — some neat stuff!
Read the article here: https://www.npr.org/2022/03/27/1088140809/fake-linkedin-profiles
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