AI image-generator Midjourney blocks Biden and Trump images before election.

The popular AI image-generator Midjourney has started barring users from making phony photos of President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump ahead of the U.S. presidential election, according to Associated Press tests

Midjourney CEO David Holz told several hundred loyal users in a digital office hours event Wednesday that it's time to "put some foots down on election-related stuff for a bit" with the election underway.

Holz said “this moderation stuff is kind of hard,” but he didn't specify policy adjustments. He defined the clampdown as a temporary effort to reduce tool abuse. The corporation did not reply to a Wednesday request for comment.

 tried to test Midjourney's new policy on Wednesday by requesting it to make “Trump and Biden shaking hands at the beach” but received a “Banned Prompt Detected” warning. Another effort raised the warning to “You have triggered an abuse alert.”

According to its website, the 11-person company has mainly kept mute on how generative AI tools could drive election misinformation worldwide. Midjourney was the only prominent image-generating tool company to not join a February tech industry accord to tackle AI-generated deepfakes that deceive voters.

“I don’t really care about political speech,” Holz remarked Wednesday. “That's not Midjourney's goal. I find it uninteresting. I don't want to monitor political speech all day. We must put our foot down.” Early this month, the Center for Countering Digital Hate found that Midjourney is being used to create graphics that could enable political disinformation or election fraud.

In an interview Wednesday, the group's head of research, Callum Hood, said Midjourney had the fewest controls of any AI image-generator when generating images of well-known political leaders like Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Midjourney was practically unusual in the willingness and convincingness of its candidate visuals.

Midjourney, OpenAI's ChatGPT Plus, Stability AI's DreamStudio, and Microsoft's Image Creator all caused election disinformation in 41% of tests, according to the monitoring group. “Midjourney performed worst of any tool, failing in 65% of test runs,” the report said.

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