Italy PM Meloni seeks damages over deepfake porn

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Giorgia MeloniImage source, Reuters

Italy’s prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, is seeking €100,000 (£85,374) in damages after deepfake porn videos of her were uploaded online.

Ms Meloni is due to testify before a court in the Sardinian city of Sassari on 2 July.

A deepfake image is one where the face of one person is digitally added to the body of another.

A 40-year-old man, thought to have produced the videos, and his 73-year-old father are under investigation.

Police have said they were able to find them by tracking down the mobile device that was used to post the videos.

Both men are accused of defamation. Under Italian law, some defamation cases can be criminal and carry a custodial sentence.

According to the indictment, the videos were posted on a US pornographic website, where they were viewed “millions of times” over the course of several months.

Ms Meloni’s legal team has said that, if her request for damages is successful, she will donate the €100,000 to a fund to support women who have been victims of male violence.

Maria Giulia Marongiu, Ms Meloni’s lawyer, said the sum was “symbolic” and the demand for compensation was meant to “send a message to women who are victims of this kind of abuse of power not to be afraid to press charges.”

The deepfake videos of Ms Meloni date back to before she was appointed prime minister in 2022.

In recent years, deepfake porn has become commonplace on the internet.

Victims have spoken about the trauma of seeing their faces digitally edited onto photos of women in sexually explicit scenes.

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