The fake image was shared by a verified Twitter account masquerading as Bloomberg and went viral after being amplified by real media outlets.
A faked image of an explosion near the Pentagon has again revealed the power of artificial intelligence-powered deception — and was enough to cause the stock market to dip briefly.
On May 22, the now-suspended verified Twitter account “Bloomberg Feed” — pretending to be affiliated with the media conglomerate — shared the image reporting of a “large explosion” near the Pentagon, the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense.
The fake report quickly gained traction and was shared by multiple media outlets, including the Russian-state controlled media outlet Russia Today to its 3 million Twitter followers and the Indian media outfit Republic to its 2.8 million Twitter followers.
Both have since deleted their respective tweets regarding the story.
Local authorities including the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, in charge of the building’s security, said they were aware of the circulating report and confirmed there was “no explosion or incident” taking place.
Multiple Twitter users pointed to inconsistencies in the image that indicated it was AI-made, highlighting the building frontage wasn’t uniform, and two different fences shown in the image seemed to merge together.
Due to the news the S&P 500 briefly dipped by 0.26% but quickly recovered after it was revealed as fake.
AI tools have been used in the creation of fake news and deceptive content before. Earlier in May, the Irish newspaper The Irish Times apologized after it was duped into publishing a submitted article that was generated by AI.
In April, California’s financial regulator cracked down on purported crypto trading services and alleged that some of the firms used AI-generated avatars to act as their CEOs in promotional videos.
AI-created “deepfakes” of crypto industry figures have often been used in an attempt to perpetrate scams.
One such notable example was a faked video of FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried that circulated shortly after the exchange collapsed and attempted to direct FTX users to a malicious site under the promise of a “giveaway.”