A photo is currently circulating on Facebook that shows a man kneeling proudly next to a wooden sculpture of a German Shepherd. There is also the caption “Made with my own hands”.
Not surprisingly, it rains recognition and positive comments praising the wood artist for his great work. Curiously, countless other versions of this image then appear. On each one the man, the sculpture and other details look slightly different.
Why? The image is not real, AI-generated, stolen and used to promote online shops.
A man with a wooden dog – and dozens of variations
The numerous fake images were discovered by Jason Koebler from 404 Media, who wrote a detailed report about them.
The photo has been shared on dozens of channels and each time it looks a little different. Sometimes the man stands to the left of the dog, sometimes to the right. Sometimes he has hearing protection on and sometimes he doesn’t. The dog also changes from picture to picture.
Unfortunately, a lot of people fall for the fake photos and think they are real. The compliments, shares and likes are piling up. One of the fake images now has more than a million likes, has been shared over 17,000 times and commented on almost 40,000 times.
If you take a look at the comments, it quickly becomes clear what purpose the viral social media post is supposed to serve. The author has pinned several links to a pet accessories shop.
There is a real original: In one case, the man kneeling proudly next to a wooden sculpture of a German Shepherd is real and his name is Micheal Jones.
He built the sculpture in the summer of this year and shared the process and result on his Facebook page. Since then, the image has been stolen from spam sites and transformed into countless variants using AI – in order to profit from the photo yourself.
Koebler sees this as a real problem for our future. Real photos are stolen and used as a “seed” image for AI copies, which are then posted to a large number of spam sites to attract as much interaction as possible.
While the problem is not new – photos from social media sites are unfortunately constantly being stolen and used for personal purposes – it is now easier than ever to alter a photo and make it “unique”.
Social media platforms such as Facebook can counteract this by better recognizing and tagging such images – but we are not there yet.
What do you think about images being stolen and used for their own purposes? What do you think needs to happen to prevent such problems in the future? Or do we have to change our attitude towards content on the Internet in general and simply accept that everything can easily be faked? Write us your opinion in the comments!