Taylor Swift, Deepfake Porn and the Law

Taylor Swift, Deepfake Porn and the Law

As the article explains, there is no federal law against this in the US. There are some state laws, but they’re not very effective. The problem is that we’ve always treated sexual abuse materials as criminal because, as the saying goes, behind every photo is a child being abused. With deepfakes, though, the abuse isn’t happening. So when a teen girl is the subject of deepfake porn, she was never sexually assaulted, so there’s no crime.

There’s a lot of harm, though. In the case of a celebrity, it might be reputational harm. In the case of teenagers, that fake can turn into blackmail, bullying, and all the mental health issues that go along with that. (The same is true of adults, but we know how vulnerable teens are to this and how this too often ends.)

The Positive Impacts of Social Media

The Positive Impacts of Social Media

This is the world we live in. Not one where teens would be fine if only they didn’t have social media, but one where teens take to social media to get information about mental health and other issues that they can’t talk to anyone else about. Getting rid of social media for minors will leave a void similar to the one I had growing up, where no one I knew talked about abuse or mental health issues, so I assumed I was the only one dealing with it.

That’s not a better world. I think a world where minors can access information provided by advocates who educate themselves about the facts and share their own lived experiences is invaluable. That’s what following these accounts can provide.

I Need You To Go Read This Collection of Research about Teens and Social Media

I Need You To Go Read This Collection of Research about Teens and Social Media

More importantly, for those of us trying to advocate for mental health, we need to realize that there is no simple answer. Turning off all of social media is not going to cure the mental health crisis. It won’t change everything that is going on in all of our lives and across the world. Pretending that we’d all have much better mental health if we just killed off Instagram or TikTik isn’t going to make the county’s mental health problems go away.

So why aren’t we discussing the harder problems that have some proven research to show the negative effects on children’s lives? School shootings, violence, racism, oppression of LGTBQ and minorities, poverty, lack of access to mental health care, etc.

Sharing – Study finds no “smoking gun” for mental health issues due to Internet usage

Sharing – Study finds no “smoking gun” for mental health issues due to Internet usage

When we rush to do something for the children, there’s a long history of implementing changes that do not help children. Running out to block teens from using social media might also cut them off from the only source of support they have, especially kids who do not have support at home from their parents. Creating age verification requirements threatens our privacy and creates unlimited risks for identity theft. Rushing to do something because a few studies show a possible mental health risk is dangerous.

Why Advocates Should Think Twice About Laws They Support

Why Advocates Should Think Twice About Laws They Support

Law enforcement officials don’t just want to be able to scan for CSAM. That’s the excuse to get the public to buy into mass surveillance. “It’s for the kids” is disingenuous. It’s not for the kids to them, it’s to open the door to the police, and anyone with some skill, to watch ALL of our communication and use it in any way they see fit.

Yes, that will include that cop who’s a little too friendly with the teens in the neighborhood, the one abusing his wife, or the one stalking an ex. It’ll also include officials with political leanings spying on opponents, dictators with unfettered access to all communication coming and going to their citizens, and hackers getting access to blackmail material.

All of it. Out there for anyone with the keys to see, store, and use as they see fit.