At least two photos of Russian President Vladimir Putin wearing robes worn by Buddhist monks are being circulated on social media with a false claim that Putin has embraced Buddhism.
BOOM found that Putin’s image has been created using Midjourney, a generative AI tool that can create hyperrealistic images following prompted commands.
The Facebook post featuring two images of Putin in a monk's robe is captioned as, “Putin denounced his old life and became a Buddhist monk.”
View the post here.
The Facebook post in Bangla claims, “Russian President Putin became a Buddhist monk for a week and practiced the religion.”
View the post here.
(Original caption in Bangla: “রাশিয়ার প্রেসিডেন্ট পুতিন। মাত্র ৭ দিনের জন্য বৌদ্ধ ধর্মের শ্রামন হয়েছিলেন এবং বৌদ্ধধর্ম চর্চা করেছিলেন।”)
BOOM ran a reverse search on Google and found that Putin’s images were originally posted by a Thai user on a Facebook group named 'AI CREATIVES THAILAND' on March 15, 2023.
The Facebook post shows four images, two of which are Putin's and the other two are of United States President Joe Biden. Biden is also seen wearing a monk's robe in the image.
The post has been captioned in Thai as, “When two escape leaders come to ordain. All photos are not real. Created by AI Midjourney.”
(Original caption in Thai language: เมื่อ 2 ผู้นำหนีมาบวช ทุกภาพไม่ใช่ภาพจริงนะครับสร้างโดย AI Midjourney #แก้ไขเดี๋ยวคนเข้าใจผิด)
BOOM also noticed that the user identified himself as a digital creator who has been posting such AI generated images on his Facebook page.
Midjourney is an AI-powered tool that can generate hyper-realistic images with simple text prompts.
We used the tool to create a different image of Putin using similar commands - Vladimir Putin meditating as Buddhist monk. BOOM was able to create images similar to the ones viral. See below.
Additionally, BOOM was not able to find any credible news source that stated that Putin had embraced Buddhism or become a monk.
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