Accusations of plagiarism: Chinese AI copies works of art – now artists are boycotting a major social media platform
The AI tool Trik AI is said to have been illegally trained using the works of artists (symbolic image)
© CHROMORANGE/ / Picture Alliance
A Chinese social media platform has been criticized for illegally using the works of various artists to train its AI tool. An employee admits the allegations to an illustrator.
It’s not just people who seem to be inspired by their surroundings – and other people’s works. An illustrator accuses the Chinese, Instagram-like platform Xiaohongshu of using her works to train the AI tool Trik AI without her knowledge – and now being imitated by it. Trik AI creates digital artwork in the style of traditional Chinese paintings. The tool is currently still in the testing phase.
According to the US news channel CNN, the illustrator was first pointed out by friends that the AI artworks looked strikingly similar to her style, with their sweeping brushstrokes, bright red and orange tones and depictions of natural landscapes. “Can you explain to me, Trik AI, why are your AI-generated images so similar to my originals?” writes Snow Fish in a post that was widely shared by her fans and within the artist community.
Trik-AI employee admits allegations and apologizes
According to the company, 260 million users are active every month on the social media platform Xiaohongshu. Xiaohongshu has not yet commented on the illustrator’s allegations or the question she raised about what content it uses to train its AI tool.
Art through artificial intelligence: Midjourney and the future of creativity
According to a report from CNN, the illustrator received a private message from someone using the official Trik AI account. In the message, the person reportedly apologized to Snow Fish, acknowledged that their art was used to train the program, and agreed to remove the posts in question. But that’s not enough for the illustrator: she wants a public apology.
Online protests: “No to AI-generated images”
The case has sparked online protests in China against the creation and use of AI-generated images. In the course of this, other artists have stated that their works were used in a similar way without their knowledge. Numerous artists have posted banners on Xiaohongshu that say “No to AI-generated images.” A corresponding hashtag has been used more than 35 million times on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform.
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