If you were keeping up with the Met Gala, you’ve probably spent the last few days debating the merits of celebrities’ looks with your friends. Did Rihanna live up to her Met Gala hype? Did you like Jared Leto’s catsuit? And wait—did you see that dress Selena Gomez wore? Selena Gomez did not attend this year’s Met Gala, but if you were scrolling Twitter you might have declared her your favorite for best dressed. Selena Gomez’s AI Met Gala look went mega-viral on Twitter, and thousands of people wondered how they could’ve missed the star on the Met Gala steps.
In the viral image, Selena Gomez is standing on the Met Gala carpet in a dark blue sheer beaded dress. Gomez has a large bar earring through cartilage piercing and is wearing her long dark hair down. The apparent issue with the image is that it isn’t real.
An AI-generated image of Selena Gomez amassed over 24.2 million views and 403k likes on Twitter since May 1, making it one of the most-liked images on the platform. The photo also gained more traction than photos and content from the actual Met Gala this year. The caption of the post reads, “SELENA GOMEZ MADE A #METGALA WTF” which led users to believe Gomez was really there.
To those that follow the Met Gala closely, the inconsistencies within the photo might seem obvious. For starters, the photo is actually an altered image of Lilly James in a blue Atelier Versace dress at the 2022 Met Gala. The image was photoshopped to replace Lilly Jame’s head with Selena Gomez’s and the color of the dress was darkened. Additionally, the background of the photo does not match the appearance of the Met Gala carpet this year which was a light tan color with blue and red ribbon stripes. And finally, the appearance of Selena Gomez’s face has clearly been altered in Photoshop.
AI-generated images have become easier to make and far more accessible. Earlier this year, an AI Art filter went viral on TikTok that enabled users to create complex images of themselves from different historical time periods. As more people begin to experiment with AI, it’s become harder to tell what is real.
The music industry is facing a similar dilemma. Last week, a song that was completely written and produced by AI called “Heart on My Sleeve” started to gain traction. The song uses the AI-generated voices of Drake and The Weeknd and sounds like a believable hit from the artists. The song was eventually removed from platforms due to a copyright claim.
In the case of the AI photo of Selena Gomez, the image is able to remain online and the responsibility goes to the viewer for a (literal) background check. Neither Selena Gomez nor Lilly James has commented on the photo and its virality.
While Lilly James did attend the 2023 Met Gala, Selena Gomez has not attended since 2018. The singer wore a bohemian-style dress by Coach and wore her hair in a soft-updo—a very different aesthetic that the viral AI Twitter look.