Woman Shocked to Be Deepfaked in Erectile Dysfunction Pill Ad: “Believe Nothing”

“We are now entering this era of living our lives online to where we need to question everything we see,” Michel Janse says.

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Mar. 26 2024, Updated 12:44 p.m. ET

Content creator Michel Janse says AI stole her likeness for an erectile dysfunction ad, and now she’s sounding the alarm about deepfake technology.

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“There’s not a guidebook to us knowing what to believe,” Michel says in a recent TikTok video as she shares a snippet from the deepfake. “I guess we’re gonna have to figure it out all together. But the internet is changing fast. I guess, ‘Trust no one, believe nothing on the internet,’ is just a motto to live by for a while.”

Michel Janse found out about the deepfake on her honeymoon, she says.

“So, AI stole my likeness and created a deepfake ad of me promoting erectile dysfunction pills,” Michel states in the video. “This actually happened when I was on my honeymoon.” (Her husband, FYI, is musician Jordy Searcy, who competed on The Voice.)

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Michel, who previously went viral for her story of being born via IVF, says she hasn’t seen the full commercial, only clips that people have sent her. “I think it was a couple minutes long,” she says. “But the thing that feels the most violating about this is that they pulled footage from by far the most vulnerable video I had ever posted on my channel, where I was sitting in my bedroom explaining very traumatic difficult things that I’d gone through in the years prior.”

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That video appears to be her May 2022 YouTube upload titled “The full story of my divorce,” which delves into her past marriage and breakup and has gotten more than 1.2 million views so far.

“So this ad was me, in my bedroom in my old apartment in Austin, wearing my clothes, talking about their pill,” Michel recaps. “The only thing is, it wasn’t my voice.”

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The deepfake problem is “super important to talk about,” Michel says.

“Sharing this little video clip with you probably isn’t smart in terms of giving them more attention, but I actually think it’s super important to talk about because we are now entering this era of living our lives online to where we need to question everything we see,” Michel says in the video.

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Furthermore, she notes, what happened to her could happen to anyone. “Someone that you know could be in a video, saying something to you, [and it] looks exactly like them, and it could be completely fabricated,” she points out.

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Michel then plays a clip from the ad, where it looks like she’s saying, “…embarrassing moments. Michel spent years having a lot of difficulty maintaining an erection and having a very small…”

The ad is “crazy,” Michel says. “I honestly don’t know how we as a society can be more discerning as to being able to tell what is real and what is fake, ‘cause It’s gonna continue to get more and more realistic and accurate over time,” she concludes.

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Michel later posted a follow-up video on TikTok after her original video went viral. “Now different outlets are reaching out and willing to investigate it further,” she says in the second video, adding that she spoke with a reporter from The Washington Post. “I am glad that this is happening to help bring awareness to how big of an issue this is.”

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