On March 26, 2023, a number of photographs of Twitter and Tesla CEO Elon Musk went viral, claiming to show him holding hands with different women, including Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, and Democratic U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The first photograph from @blovereviews appeared to show Musk holding hands with Barra.
A few hours later, the account shared another photograph claiming, "Hours after being seen with Mary Barra, Elon Musk was spotted with AOC."
Neither of these photographs was real but rather were digitally manipulated by an artificial intelligence (AI) program. There is no evidence that Musk was with either of these women. Barra and Ocasio-Cortez are both in committed relationships, and neither would realistically be seen walking around in public with Musk in that manner.
The woman in the above tweet is definitely not Ocasio-Cortez — for a comparison, see a picture of Ocasio-Cortez here. Musk also tweeted a response to the photograph with Barra, stating, "I would never wear that outfit."
The creator of the images also admitted to the digital manipulation. Brian Lovett, a tech YouTuber, acknowledged that he used the AI program Midjourney and did not make the images "completely photorealistic." He noted how many online honed in on the hands in the photographs and other elements that seemed off.
But he said that he wanted to show "where we are at with this technology[...] already at a crazy and somewhat alarming place."
He even joked about getting a response from Musk on Twitter:
It is getting harder to spot a "deepfake," which is an image or video created with the aid of artificial intelligence (AI). We put together a guide on how to spot them, here.
Given that the creator of the photographs has himself admitted to manipulating images of Musk and the two women, and that there's no evidence that such interactions took place in real life, we rate this claim as "False."