Study reveals widespread use of 'deepnudes' among Belgian youth

A recent survey conducted by the University of Antwerp (UAntwerpen) has revealed alarming statistics about the spread of "deepnudes" among young Belgians. Nearly one in ten young people aged between 15 and 25 have already tried to create fake nude images using artificial intelligence, while 14 per cent say they have already received a deepnude, Het Nieuwsblad and other Mediahuis newspapers write on Saturday.

The images are mostly made out of revenge (23 per cent). Curiosity also plays a role (18 per cent) and almost 22 per cent want to "gain status with friends". Fourteen per cent use deepnudes "to humiliate someone" and the same number see it as a means of power.

Creating and sharing such images is a criminal offence. Those who create images without permission are guilty of voyeurism. Sharing them is considered revenge porn. In the case of minors, AI images are no different in the eyes of the law than images of child sexual abuse.

Open source applications

Among the respondents, around 41.9 per cent said they were aware of deepnudes. While around 14 per cent said they had received deepnudes, over 7.6 per cent admitted to possessing such images - meaning that more than half of recipients keep the images. Most image generators - such as Dall-E - have built-in features that prevent nudity from being generated, but many other apps, websites and 'open source' applications do not have such filters.

"The results are shocking and call for action," Het Nieuwsblad quotes UAntwerpen professor Catherine Van de Heyning, one of the lead authors of the study. According to Van de Heyning, the numbers in the Belgian survey are higher than in similar studies of Australian, British and New Zealand teenagers.

"The results are shocking and call for action", as the numbers in Belgium are higher than in similar studies abroad.

Even though the images are fake, their effect is "immense". Previous research shows that it is comparable to the leaking of real nude photos. "Being a victim of deepnuding can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, loss of self-confidence and even suicidal tendencies," another study said.


Related news:

Website preview
Tech giants pledge to work together to tackle AI abuse during elections
The world’s largest tech companies have announced a partnership to tackle abuse of artificial intelligence in elections, they said on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Friday.
Website preview
Flemish government makes increasing use of artificial intelligence
Will questions from Flemish MPs be answered using artificial intelligence (AI) in the future? The track has already been explored, according to the answer given to a written question by Vlaams Belang party leader Chris Janssens. The use of AI by the Flemish government is on the rise, with 51 projects underway and 53 other applications under investigation.

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels