Students are a New Jersey high school are being bullied and harassed after their photos are digitally altered and put on nude bodies generated by artificial intelligence (AI).
Boys have been sharing fake images of female classmates at Westfield High School in group chats. The girls were tipped off when sophomore boys began acting “weird,” whispering among themselves and being quieter than usual, one mother, whose daughter was impacted told The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which revealed the story.
After the daughter began asking questions, a male classmate said that at least one student used an AI-powered website to create pornographic images using girls’ photos found online, then shared them with other male students in group chats.
Mary Asfendis, Westfield High School Principal, sent a letter to parents stating that she believed the images had been deleted and were not being circulated.
“This is a very serious incident,” Asfendis wrote. “New technologies have made it possible to falsify images and students need to know the impact and damage those actions can cause to others.”
Four of the girls filed police reports.
“I am terrified by how this is going to surface and when,” said Dorota Mani, whose 14-year-old daughter was among the girls whose photo was used. “My daughter has a bright future and no one can guarantee this won’t impact her professionally, academically or socially.”
New technological advances related to AI are causing concern nationwide as fake images are being used maliciously to target individuals.
This summer, the FBI warned Americans that criminals are increasingly using AI to generate sexually explicit images for intimidation and extortion operations.
“The FBI continues to receive reports from victims, including minor children and non-consenting adults, whose photos or videos were altered into explicit content,” the agency said in an alert distributed to the public. “The photos or videos are then publicly circulated on social media or pornographic websites, for the purpose of harassing victims or sextortion schemes.”
The bureau said that such actions may violate several federal criminal statutes, and added that since April 2023, the FBI has seen an uptick in extortion from victims reporting fake images and videos created with content posted on social media sites.