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MrBeast Calls Out ‘Scam’ Deepfake AI Advertisement on TikTok

MrBeast Calls Out ‘Scam’ Deepfake AI Advertisement on TikTok
Joe Seer / Shutterstock

YouTube star MrBeast is the latest content creator to call out AI-generated content using their likeness.

YouTube star MrBeast is the latest content creator to call out AI-generated content using their likeness.

YouTube star MrBeast is questioning if social media platforms are ready to deal with fake artificial intelligence advertisements after a scam using his likeness came out on TikTok.

“Lots of people are getting this deepfake scam ad of me … are social media platforms ready to handle the rise of AI deepfakes? This is a serious problem,” the YouTuber, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The ad shows an AI "deepfake" version of Donaldson, in a pink hoodie and gray baseball cap talking about a giveaway in a voice that does not sound like Donaldson’s.

"If you’re watching this video, you’re one of the 10,000 lucky people who will get an iPhone 15 Pro for just $2," the voice says in the video. "I’m MrBeast and I’m doing the world’s largest iPhone 15 giveaway. Click the link below to claim yours now."

The video displayed Doanldson’s logo and a username with a verified checkmark in the lower left hand corner. The linked page also showed an image that was made to look like Donaldson’s Instagram account promoting the giveaway. However, there are no posts anywhere on Donaldson’s verified Instagram.

At the top of the page for the supposed giveaway there is a counter that shows the allegedly dwindling number of iPhone available. The page requests users to verify that they are older than 18-years-old and shows pictures of several “satisfied customers” with the iPhones they supposedly won.

Actors slam AI using their likeness

According to NBC, a reverse image search on Google shows the image that appeared on the fake post was originally a thumbnail for a video by YouTuber ZHC. The video is titled “I Surprised MrBeast With Customs iPhones!” and has more than 37 million views.

While the ad is imperfect and has lip-sync errors at times where the mouth movement doesn’t align with what is being said, it highlights the increasing realism of AI and emphasizes how deceptive it is becoming.

The ad has since been removed from Tiktok. The platform’s advertising policies state that “synthetic or manipulated media showing realistic scenes must be clearly disclosed or labeled in the video.”

Donaldson joins a handful of other well-known people who have warned the public that their likeness is being used without their permission. Actor Tom Hanks posted to Instagram on Sunday that he “had nothing to do with” a computer-generated version of himself “promoting some dental plan.” Zelda Wiilliams, daughter of late actor and comedian Robin Williams, called the AI recreations of her father that are circulating the internet “personally disturbing.”

AI remains a sticking point within the negotiations currently ongoing between Hollywood studios and the striking actors in SAG-AFTRA.

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Kylie Werner