Gov. Ron DeSantis Should Reject A.I.-Generated Deepfakes, Take Down Campaign Video Including Alleged Deepfake Images

Governor Ron DeSantis
Ron DeSantis For President
P.O. Box 3696
Tallahassee, FL 32315

Dear Governor Ron DeSantis,

We are writing to urge you to pledge not to use deepfake technology to trick voters and to urge your DeSantis War Room account on Twitter (@DesantisWarRoom) to take down the campaign video posted on June 5, which uses deepfake technology.

Twenty-five seconds into the campaign video, which Twitter statistics show has been viewed 9.1 million times, there is a collage of images juxtaposed with the words “REAL LIFE TRUMP” that includes three images of President Trump physically embracing Dr. Anthony Fauci that appear to be deepfakes created using generative A.I. (artificial intelligence). The apparent deepfakes were first identified by AFP.

Experts have noted that the three images – on the top left, bottom center, and bottom right of the collage – bear hallmarks of being deepfakes generated using deceptive A.I. technology. The unnatural poses, errors in the White House signage in the background, and smooth, plastic-seeming texture of hair and skin are among the most striking indictors that the images are deepfakes created using generative A.I. Reverse image search efforts have also failed to locate sources of the original photos – another indicator that the images were created using A.I. tools.

Generative A.I. and deepfake technology – a type of artificial intelligence used to create convincing images, audio and video hoaxes – is evolving very rapidly. This is not a technology that advantages one candidate over another. Anyone can use it to deceptive effect. That’s why all political players have an equal interest in preventing abuse of this technology.

Beyond the shared interest of all political candidates in not being victimized by a deepfake fraud, there is a broader public interest. Deepfake technology poses a genuine challenge to the future functioning of our democracy. If voters cannot trust the authenticity of what they see and hear online, it’s hard to know how our democracy can work.

We call on you to:

  1. Take down the June 5, 2023, campaign video containing deceptive deepfake imagery;
  2. Commit immediately to stop using deceptive deepfake technology;
  3. Urge all independent committees and supporter equally to pledge not to use deepfake technology to deceive voters; and
  4. Call for rapid passage of legislation making it illegal to use deepfake technology to deceive voters.


Robert Weissman
President, Public Citizen