Amnesty Criticized Over Use of AI-Generated Images

Those images, posted to Amnesty’s Instagram account with over one million followers as well as national Twitter accounts, included a disclaimer in the bottom-left corner that read: “Illustrations produced using artificial intelligence”.

Following public outrage and complaints from human rights campaigners who voiced concerns that AI-generated imagery could discredit human rights defenders, these posts were removed from social media.

Amnesty has disclosed its use of artificially intelligent-generated images instead of real photographs to protect protesters against reprisals for their demonstrations.

Sam Gregory, executive director of human rights group WITNESS, told Gizmodo there are other means available to anonymise images other than AI-powered software.

“We’ve spent the last five years talking to hundreds of activists and journalists and others globally who already face delegitimisation of their images and videos under claims that they are faked,” he said.

Erika Guevara Rosas, Amnesty’s director for Americas, told The Guardian: “We have decided not to use AI-generated images on social media posts as this could distract from our core message supporting victims and calling for justice in Colombia.

“However, we take all feedback seriously and are eager to continue collaborating in order to better comprehend its consequences and address ethical dilemmas caused by such technologies.”

Amnesty International is a global movement that strives to safeguard human rights and promote social justice. The organization has a long history of using images to increase awareness of human rights abuses and to advocate for change. However, in a recent campaign named “The Future is Now,” Amnesty used AI-generated images to depict the possible future of human rights violations. The images created by AI algorithms portray individuals facing various human rights abuses, including unlawful detention, torture, and censorship.

The use of AI-generated images in the campaign has sparked criticism from some quarters. Critics argue that the images are not realistic enough and could detract from the gravity of the issues. Furthermore, the use of AI-generated images could lead to a lack of trust in the authenticity of the images and, by extension, the credibility of Amnesty International.

However, supporters of Amnesty’s use of AI-generated images contend that they are an effective means of drawing attention to human rights concerns and engaging people in activism. They also point out that AI-generated images can safeguard the anonymity of individuals who might face retaliation for speaking out against human rights abuses.

The controversy over Amnesty’s use of AI-generated images raises significant questions about the use of AI in activism and the potential consequences of AI-generated images on human rights. With algorithms capable of creating realistic images that are almost indistinguishable from photographs, there are concerns about the misuse of AI-generated images, including the creation of fake news and propaganda.

Additionally, there are concerns about the impact of AI-generated images on privacy and anonymity. As AI algorithms become more sophisticated, distinguishing between real and AI-generated images could become increasingly challenging. This could compromise the privacy and anonymity of individuals as AI-generated images are used to identify and track them.

The use of AI-generated images in human rights activism also raises ethical questions. Although the use of AI-generated images can be a powerful tool for increasing awareness of human rights abuses, it can also be seen as exploitative. AI-generated images are created by algorithms trained on real images of human suffering and violence. Using these images to further a cause without the individuals depicted giving their consent raises concerns about the ethics of such use.

Another ethical concern is the potential for AI-generated images to perpetuate stereotypes and biases. AI algorithms are only as unbiased as the data they are trained on, and biased data can result in biased output. There are concerns that AI-generated images could propagate stereotypes and biases about certain groups of people, especially those who are already marginalized and vulnerable.


The controversy over Amnesty’s use of AI-generated images underscores the ethical and social implications of using AI in activism and human rights advocacy. Although AI-generated images can be an effective means of raising awareness of human rights abuses, they raise significant concerns about privacy, anonymity, bias, and exploitation. As AI technology continues to advance, it is essential to consider carefully the ethical and social consequences of its use, particularly in the context of human rights activism.

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