Selena Gomez fans went crazy over an AI-edited image on social media.
2023 has been a strange year on social media, from TikTok being banned in Montana to the rise of AI artwork forcing everyone to question what they see on their feeds. Will Smith never ate spaghetti in the disturbing viral video, and Selena Gomez never attended the 2023 Met Gala. The truth was uncovered after the following image earned upwards of 14 million likes on Twitter, causing the star to trend, though it turns out the image below is an AI edit of Lily James from last year’s event.
It’s easy to see why fans of the pop star wanted to believe the image was real since Selena Gomez looks fierce in the blue beaded gown that leaves very little to the imagination. Alas, it’s a color and face swap of Lily James, the star of Pam & Tommy, who wore the gown at last year’s Met Gala. Instead of dark blue beads, the real gown sparkles like diamonds over a sheer bodystocking, which can be seen in motion below:
Selena Gomez was too busy wrapping up production on Season 3 of Only Murders in the Building to attend this year’s event, which is why her fans reacted with joy on social media in the first place. All it took was an AI-assisted edit, swapping her face onto Lily James and then adjusting the light blue sparkling gown to the dark blue look, and a legit-looking fake was created. For celebrities, this is the start of what has the potential to become a very serious problem moving forward.
Pretending Selena Gomez was at an event and looking fabulous is one thing, but what if it was a deep fake of the pop star doing something else? Social media lit up with the benign fake, but how long would it take for an image of the star in an outfit supporting a political cause to be shared over a million times? The rise of AI artwork and the ease with which anyone’s face can be put on anybody is why some in Hollywood believe this is the new frontier for copyright.
Selena Gomez’s old stomping grounds at Disney have already experimented with AI actors filling out background shots. Without control over her own likeness, nothing is stopping Disney or someone with more nefarious intentions from generating a complete deep fake of the star. Given how many people believed, and still want to believe, that the eye-catching images are Justin Beiber’s ex-girlfriend, fooling people with AI is disturbingly easy.
Lily James was actually at the 2023 Met Gala, sporting a striking black look, but she’s also in the middle of filming the Von Erich film, The Iron Claw, alongside Zac Efron and the AEW Champion, Maxwell Jacob Friedman. Selena Gomez’s upcoming season of Only Murders in the Building will premiere on August 8. Until then, fans can follow her official social media accounts for real updates on her life and projects, which will hopefully curb any more AI fakes from going viral, no matter how flattering they are.