Images of longtime public health official Anthony Fauci being arrested, apparently generated by artificial intelligence, have appeared on Twitter days after similar images circulated featuring former President Donald Trump.
The four pictures, posted by conservative commentator Jack Posobiec, show Fauci being wrangled by law enforcement officers and posing for a mugshot. Posobiec did not say where the pictures came from, but they are arranged in a grid and feature imperfections similar to AI-generated images.
Fauci was the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for nearly 40 years and a public face of the U.S. government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He has faced calls for his arrest and prosecution over allegations that he oversaw research funding for a Chinese virology lab that the pandemic may have emerged from. Whether the virus leaked from a lab remains unclear, and Fauci has denied funding so-called “gain-of-function” research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Twitter CEO Elon Musk stoked that fire in December by tweeting: “My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci,” alleging that Fauci “killed millions of people.”
Fauci retired as NIAID director, as well as President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor, at the end of 2022.
The apparently AI-generated images of his arrest come after a series of similar images of Trump circulated on Twitter this week. Trump had been expected to be criminally charged, and possibly arrested, this week over a hush money investigation, but the grand jury considering his indictment has not yet voted on it.
The images – generated by Eliot Higgins, founder of the investigative journalism group Bellingcat – depict the former president resisting arrest, being lodged in jail, tried in court and acclimating to prison life.
Higgins said that the platform he used to generate the images, Midjourney, banned him from using it after they went viral.
The word “arrested” is currently prohibited from being used in text prompts that inspire Midjourney images. If the word is used, Midjourney returns this message: “The word arrested is banned. Circumventing this filter to violate our rules may result in your access being revoked.”