China’s Use of AI to Influence US Elections Raises Concerns, Microsoft Warns

China’s Use of AI to Influence US Elections Raises Concerns, Microsoft Warns

A new report released by Microsoft highlights how Chinese social media accounts are using artificial intelligence to influence elections and spread propaganda. The report reveals that accounts linked to the Chinese Communist Party have been sharing AI-generated memes, videos, and audio content online targeting East Asian countries and attempting to influence US elections.

According to Microsoft Threat Intelligence, Chinese propaganda actors have been creating AI-generated media to generate outrage and sway elections in East Asia. This includes spreading misinformation about natural disasters and other events to cause chaos in the US. These accounts have also been asking followers to comment on which presidential candidates they support, possibly to gather intelligence on key voting demographics.

While the threat level from these AI-generated propaganda campaigns is currently low, Microsoft warns that they could become more effective over time. The report comes after the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a threat assessment of China citing their aim to undermine democracy and extend their influence.

Both the government report and Microsoft’s report mention “Spamouflage,” or social media accounts linked to the Chinese Communist Party that share divisive and frequently AI-generated content. This tactic is similar to Russia’s influence campaign in the 2016 US election when troll farms spread disinformation.

The report also notes that during his presidency, Trump authorized a CIA program to discredit the Chinese government on social media. The use of AI-generated media in propaganda campaigns is a growing concern and highlights the need for vigilance in identifying and countering such tactics.

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