Amnesty International, the controversial international human rights organization, has faced backlash for using an AI image generator to illustrate protests and police brutality in Colombia, reports Gizmodo.

Amnesty said it used the image generator to protect the anonymity of vulnerable protesters who were at risk of repression and stigmatization by state security forces. The organization posted three images on its Norwegian regional Twitter account to mark the second anniversary of a major protest in Colombia in which police brutalized protesters and committed “grave human rights violations.” In the lower left corner of each image there is a note: “Illustrations produced by artificial intelligence”. After an outcry, the tweets with the images were deleted.

Amnesty International used AI-generated images to show Colombian police brutality during protests

In response, many commentators expressed concern over Amnesty International’s use of AI-generated images, often associated with bizarre art and memes, to illustrate human rights abuses. Some human rights experts fear that the use of the technology could further undermine the credibility of human rights groups already besieged by authoritarian governments that question the veracity of real footage.

Experts say that the use of generative AI could set a worrying precedent and put all the pressure on journalists and human rights defenders, who must prove the authenticity of their work.

Sam Gregory, who heads WITNESS, a global human rights network specializing in the use of video, said that Amnesty’s AI-generated images did more harm than good. Media researcher and writer Roland Meyer agreed with him and tweeted that using an image generator by Amnesty may actually “devalue” the work of reporters and photographers who documented actual violence against protesters in Colombia.

While Amnesty does not currently have a policy on the use of AI-generated images, a spokesperson for the organization said that management is aware of the potential for abuse and tries to limit the use of the technology. However, any Amnesty rule or policy regarding the use of AI could set a precedent for others to follow.