On Thursday, Microsoft researchers claimed to have discovered what they believe to be a network of fictitious, Chinese-controlled social media accounts operating with the intention of utilising AI to sway American votes.
According to a representative of the Chinese embassy in Washington, claims that China used artificial intelligence to establish phoney social media profiles were “full of prejudice and malicious speculation” and that China supports the responsible use of AI.
Microsoft claimed in a recent research report that the social media profiles were a part of a presumed Chinese intelligence operation. The U.S. Department of Justice has linked the campaign’s activities to “an elite group within (China’s) Ministry of Public Security,” according to Microsoft.
The researchers did not identify the social media networks that were impacted, but their paper included screenshots.
According to the survey, the social media landscape is tense as Americans get ready for the 2024 presidential election.
The United States government has charged Russia with interfering in the 2016 election through a clandestine social media campaign and has issued a warning against further attempts by China, Russia, and Iran to sway public opinion.
The report gave only a few specific examples of recent activity and did not go into great depth to describe how researchers determined that the posts were from China. Microsoft’s researcher employed a “multifaceted attribution model,” according to a representative for the business, which is based on “technical evidence, behavioural evidence, and contextual evidence.”
Around March 2023, the campaign started using generative AI to produce politically heated English content and “mimic U.S. voters,” according to Microsoft.
Generative AI can produce text, graphics, and other media from the start.
The new material is significantly more “eye-catching than the awkward visuals used in previous campaigns by Chinese nation-state actors, which relied on digital drawings, stock photo collages, and other manual graphic designs,” the researchers wrote.
The report used as an example an AI-generated image of the Statue of Liberty carrying an assault gun with the text, “Everything is being thrown away. I AM THE GODDESS OF VIOLENCE.” Microsoft claims the image originated from a Chinese account.
The Microsoft representative claimed that the detected accounts had made an effort to appear American by designating their country of residence as the United States, posting political slogans from the country, and using hashtags related to domestic political topics.