AI and problematic deepfake websites
How websites are exploiting female streamers with fake porn
On January 30, popular Twitch streamer Atrioc accidentally revealed a private tab open on his web browser of a porn website full of deepfakes of female streamers. Even though his tabs were only open for a few seconds, it did not take long for the clip to go viral on the subreddit r/LivestreamFails and for many people to start asking questions about what the website was and why Atrioc was on it.
For some background, deepfakes are part of artificial intelligence. Deepfakes are created through artificial intelligence, taking the face of one person and putting it onto another person in an image or video. With deepfakes, you could take a photo of Jennifer Lopez and put your face on her body. Unfortunately, deepfakes are often used for nefarious purposes. They have been linked to CSAM, revenge porn, bullying, fraud, celebrity porn, and blackmail.
It is worth noting that deepfakes aren’t always used for bad things. They’re how Disney makes their characters look younger in movies. Some artists use it for studies.
So, who is Atrioc? Brandon Ewing is a Twitch streamer and YouTuber who goes by the name Atrioc online. Most of his streams are under the ‘just chatting’ section. He worked for Twitch for three years and currently works at NVIDIA as their Manager of Global Consumer Marketing. He is well-known for his series ‘Marketing Monday’ where he discusses topics about marketing. Sometimes it’s what is currently in the media, and sometimes it’s old Shark Tank clips.
On January 30, just hours after the clip went viral, Atrioc went live again to release an apology while his partner sat in the background. Both him and his partner were crying. Atrioc expressed how he felt embarrassed and upset with himself. He stated that he wanted to help make women on Twitch feel safe. He claimed that he was reading a lot about AI and deepfakes for research.
While he was on Pornhub, he received several ads for a website that had deepfake porn of popular streamers. In his Twitch apology, he says he has a same-day receipt for the website saying that there is no pattern of behaviour and it had not happened ever before. He clicked it out of morbid curiosity early in the morning. He claimed that he deeply regretted what he did. His partner agreed that it wasn’t a pattern of behaviour and apologized alongside him.
On February 1, Atrioc released another apology through a TwitLonger. He started by apologizing to the two female streamers who were in the screenshot shown online, Maya Higa and Pokimane. He apologized that they were being exploited further because of what he did.
Atrioc stated that he is now working to take down the website and helping pay back women who had paid to take deepfake porn content of them off the internet. He stated he is working with lawyers to rid the internet of this content. His full effort is now going to this instead of making Twitch and YouTube content. He expressed that those who think he did nothing wrong are the ones in the wrong. He said he does not want them to support him. He ended the TwitLonger by saying that he would be gone for a while, showing his actions instead of his words.
An important thing to note about this TwitLonger is that he did not apologize to his fans for what he did. He only apologized to the people affected by his actions, Pokimane and Higa.
In response, on January 31, Pokimane tweeted out “stop sexualizing people without their consent. that’s it, that’s the tweet,” and has made no further comments.
The same day, Higa tweeted a statement in regard to the situation. She mentioned that she was assaulted at a party in 2018 and the way she feels about being “in headlines where thousands of people are commenting on the sexualization of [her] body against [her] will” is similar to her 2018 experience. Despite never making any sexual content, Higa expresses that she was made into a sexual object by men.
Another streamer, SweetAnita, tweeted on January 30 that she found out there was deepfake porn of her on that site because of the Atrioc story.
The content creator whose response has been discussed the most is QTCinderella. QTCinderella is a popular Twitch streamer and YouTuber who was close friends with Atrioc and is dating one of Atrioc’s closest friends and fellow content creator, Ludwig. She was one of the many female content creators on the website.
QTCinderella went live on Twitch to tearfully discuss what is going on. She stated “this is what pain looks like” in response to her visage on her stream. QTCinderella continued to say “fuck the constant exploitation and objectification of women, it’s exhausting.” She expressed that Atrioc’s viral clip had shown thousands of new people the website and that people had started sending her private messages of images found on that site of her.
She said that people who look at women online sexually without putting it online themselves are part of the problem. She also expressed that it should not be her job to get these images taken down and she should not have to spend money to do so. Fake nude images of her are not her job, and it should not be part of her job. She ended by showing her intent to sue the creator of the website.
QTCinderella also expressed in a tweet that she has experienced a lot of body dysmorphia after seeing images and videos of her face on a body that is not her own.
Many people were waiting patiently for Ludwig to create a video on the situation, knowing how close he is to Atrioc and that his girlfriend was engaged in the situation. Ludwig showed in his video through Google Trends that there was a spike in interest in deepfake porn after the Atrioc situation.
Thankfully, the website has since been taken down. The creator has claimed that it was because streamers asked for it to be taken down and that if a streamer had asked in the past to be taken off the site, it would immediately be taken down.
In the future, hopefully we can see fewer and fewer female content creators being sexualized and sexually exploited against their will and content like these deep fake porn websites leaving the internet.
For now, listen to the women affected by this situation. They are the victims. They are the ones hurt by this. They are the only ones who can accept Atrioc’s apology. Their words matter the most.