Hugging Face Removes Singing AI Models of Xi Jinping But Not of Biden

The removals come as Hugging Face is banned in China, which the company called “regrettable.”
Hugging Face and Xi Jinping.
Collage by 404 Media.

AI platform Hugging Face has removed multiple models that allowed users to generate content of Chinese President Xi Jinping singing. In one case, a model was removed by a Hugging Face co-founder, who said that the creation of models for “political purposes” violated the terms of a separate underlying piece of software, and that impersonation without consent is against Hugging Face’s own terms of use. 

But 404 Media has found Hugging Face continues to host models doing essentially the same thing for President Joe Biden, showing a major inconsistency in the platform’s approach and raises questions around whether Hugging Face is selectively enforcing against models that are related to the Chinese President over others.

Hugging Face is one of the largest open platforms for people to upload AI and machine learning models and datasets for anyone to then download and use themselves. The findings come weeks after Hugging Face confirmed the Chinese government has blocked the AI platform in China, which the company described as “regrettable.”

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On Monday, Michael Veale, associate professor, digital rights and regulation at University College London and co-author Robert Gorwa, from the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, published a research paper which examined the content moderation approaches of different AI platforms, including Hugging Face and Civitai. That paper pointed to two examples of singing Xi Jinping model’s removed by Hugging Face: “XiJinPing_Singing” and “WinnieThePoohSVC_sovits4.”