Former US President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in September 2022


  • The Bellingcat founder used the Midjourney AI art generator to visualize Trump's indictment
  • Eliot Higgins' first tweet showing AI-generated photos of Trump garnered over 5 million views
  • Instagram flagged one of Higgins' creations for lacking context and the risk of misleading people

Computer-generated images showing the arrest and imprisonment of former President Donald Trump have flooded the internet as the former president is bracing for a possible indictment on the case involving paying hush money to an adult film star.

Eliot Higgins, the founder of the open-source investigative outlet Bellingcat, created several photos of Trump's arrest through Midjourney, a rising AI art generator.

Higgins shared some of the AI-generated pictures on his Twitter account.

"Making pictures of Trump getting arrested while waiting for Trump's arrest," Higgins wrote.

Higgins told Washington Post that he only wanted to visualize Trump's looming indictment.

"I was just mucking about," Higgins said. "I thought maybe five people would retweet it."

But his tweet with AI-generated photos of Trump garnered so much attention from internet users.

As of press time, Higgins' tweet received 5.2 million views, more than 4,400 retweets and over 36,000 likes.

The investigative journalist continued generating AI photos depicting Trump, sharing at least 50 on Twitter.

Some AI-generated images showed Trump wearing an orange-colored prison suit while talking to some of his fellow prisoners.

Trump was also depicted cleaning the prison's hallways and restroom and walking under the sewers.

Higgins' creations were shared by users on other platforms, including Facebook and Instagram.

On Instagram, a photo generated by Higgins shared by an account with more than 3,000 followers was flagged by independent fact-checkers, warning it lacked context and could mislead people.

However, on Facebook, one of Higgins' AI-generated photos shared by a random user didn't receive a fact check.

The Bellingcat founder was finally stopped on Wednesday after he said he got locked out from Midjourney's Discord server.

Higgins said he hadn't received communication from Midjourney about what he had violated.

Despite being banned from Midjourney's platform, Higgins said he wouldn't contest it.

"I suspect it was pushing my luck when I did the thread," Higgins said in a separate interview with BuzzFeed News.

A human rights advocate warned about the potential danger of AI-generated visuals.

Sam Gregory, the executive director of the human rights organization Witness, said the advancements in AI technology show the "ability to create fake but believable images at volume."

Gregory added that AI-generated pictures might undermine people's trust in the images they see online.

Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has also expressed his concern, saying that policymakers have already been informed about AI technology's potential to exacerbate the disinformation problem.

Warner warned AI developers of holding them accountable if their product "enables harms that are reasonably foreseeable."

China's AI technology companies are rising stars -- here people have their faces scanned at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai
Photo: World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai AFP / HECTOR RETAMAL