China Uses AI Disinformation to Target Voters

( – China has begun to probe foreign elections with advanced disinformation campaigns powered by artificial intelligence (AI), according to cybersecurity research published by Microsoft and U.S. authorities. Chinese-linked accounts coordinate their release of disinformation using fake accounts or bots on social media.

The report was published on April 5th from Microsoft and revealed the use of Chinese AI in coordinated disinformation campaigns designed to influence foreign elections. The report’s authors warned that these are more sophisticated methods than previously seen. They found accounts on X that were over a decade old in some cases, which began to probe respondents’ thoughts on immigration, drug use, and race relations. Sometimes they’d even ask people to talk about their preferred political candidate.

Microsoft highlighted the fact that the accounts were using AI to generate the queries in English, often with basic imagery to obscure the source of the query was not a native speaker.

U.S. officials accused China last year of spending billions on pumping out disinformation around the world. Microsoft security expert Tom Burt explained that the disinformation networks have picked up their activity over the last six months, which just so happens to coincide with an increase in cyberattacks suspected to be the fault of the Chinese government.

Burt suggested the recent bout of attacks were merely experiments and probing of their targets’ defenses. He’s concerned about what may follow.

Microsoft noted that they detected a spike in AI tools being used to sway the January presidential election in Taiwan. China is suspected of using AI to imitate the voice of a former presidential candidate to make a fake endorsement. It marked the first time researchers noted the use of AI in this manner to impact an election.

Beijing has repeatedly expressed disdain for U.S.-based social media which it believes is a hotbed of “disinformation” regarding China. If there’s anything that earns the ire of communists, it’s a little objective criticism.

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