Fabricated images of former President Trump being arrested are circulating social media as the country prepares for his possible indictment this week.
The images, created using artificial intelligence software (AI), show what appears to be the a large group of New York City Police Department officers arresting the former president as he resists be detained. Some of the images that were posted on Twitter even depict Trump being forced to the ground, while another image shows him running away from the police officers.
The text in the images, like on the police officers’ uniform, is garbled — an indicator that they were fake.
Eliot Higgins, founder and creative director of investigative collective Bellingcat, first shared these images Monday on Twitter, and they have gained traction over the last several days.
He explained in a tweet that he used MidJourney V5 — an AI software that creates images from a written prompt — to form the images. That prompt that he used read “Donald Trump falling over while getting arrested. Fibonacci Spiral. News footage,” and it produced many of the images that were posted on Twitter.
Some users retweeted the photos without context, which could lead to misinformation spreading about Trump’s potential indictment. The New York City Police Department confirmed to the Associated Press on Tuesday that no arrest of Trump has been made.
Higgins told the Associated Press that the image of Trump being arrest “was really just casually showing both how good and bad Midjourney was at rendering real scenes,” and noted that one of the images featured Trump with three legs and a police belt.
“I had assumed that people would [realize] Donald Trump has two legs, not three, but that appears not to have stopped some people passing them off as genuine, which highlights that lack of critical thinking skills in our educational system,” he told the AP.
The New York grand jury investigating the potential indictment of Trump is no longer scheduled to meet Wednesday, according to multiple reports. The jury was tasked with looking into Trump’s role in a hush-money payment made to adult-film star Stormy Daniels to cover up an alleged affair between the two.
Trump said over the weekend that he expects to be arrested this week in relation to the investigation and has called for his supporters to protest his potential indictment.
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