Studying the Online Deepfake Community
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How to Cite

Timmerman, B., Mehta, P., Deb, P., Gallagher, K., Dolan-Gavitt, B., Garg, . S., & Greenstadt, R. (2023). Studying the Online Deepfake Community. Journal of Online Trust and Safety, 2(1).


Deepfakes have become a dual-use technology with applications in the domains of art, science, and industry. However, the technology can also be leveraged maliciously in areas such as disinformation, identity fraud, and harassment. In response to the technology's dangerous potential many deepfake creation communities have been deplatformed, including the technology's originating community – r/deepfakes. Opening in February 2018, just eight days after the removal of r/deepfakes, MrDeepFakes (MDF) went online as a privately owned platform to fulfill the role of community hub, and has since grown into the largest dedicated deepfake creation and discussion platform currently online. This position of community hub is balanced against the site's other main purpose, which is the hosting of deepfake pornography depicting public figures- produced without consent. In this paper we explore the two largest deepfake communities that have existed via a mixed methods approach utilizing quantitative and qualitative analysis. We seek to identify how these platforms were and are used by their members, what opinions these deepfakers hold about the technology and how it is seen by society at large, and identify how deepfakes-as-disinformation is viewed by the community. We find that there is a large emphasis on technical discussion on these platforms, intermixed with potentially malicious content. Additionally, we find the deplatforming of deepfake communities early in the technology's life has significantly impacted trust regarding alternative community platforms.
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