Microsoft analysts have warned that Chinese operatives were behind fake social media accounts using artificial intelligence-generated images to manipulate and influence American voters by spreading disinformation and provoking discussion on divisive political issues.
(Article cross-posted from Natural News)
According to a detailed report from Microsoft’s Digital Threat Analysis Center (DTAC), China-affiliated actors have been using AI-generated visual media to craft politically charged content in English while impersonating U.S. voters.
The campaign, which started in March 2023, uses more visually appealing and sophisticated AI-generated content with high-quality images designed to go viral on Facebook and X in the U.S. and other democratic nations.
This propaganda garnered “higher levels of engagement from authentic social media users” than previous campaigns that often relied on digital drawings, stock photo collages and manual graphic design.
For instance, an AI-generated image of the Statue of Liberty brandishing an assault rifle ignites politically divisive topics like gun violence and the defamation of U.S. political figures and symbols.
The fake accounts employed different tactics to appear like legitimate Americans, including setting their public locations within the United States, posting American political slogans and sharing hashtags related to domestic political issues.
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“We can expect China to continue to hone this technology over time and improve its accuracy, though it remains to be seen how and when it will deploy it at scale,” commented Clint Watts, the general manager of DTAC.
Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, denied all the allegations in an email to CNN.
“In recent years, some Western media and think tanks have accused China of using artificial intelligence to create fake social media accounts to spread so-called ‘pro-China’ information. Such remarks are full of prejudice and malicious speculation against China, which China firmly opposes,” Liu said.
Chinese operatives are paying Americans to protest in the U.S.
During the 2016 presidential election, Russia reportedly used social media platforms to create division among U.S. voters. Since then, U.S. officials have warned the public that China and other countries might adopt this tactic in the future. And it could be true, as more proof has come out showing that China is trying to create disagreement and conflict in the United States.
Back in July, research conducted by cybersecurity firm Mandiant proved that Shanghai Haixum Technology Co., Ltd., a Chinese marketing firm was involved in organizing and promoting the small-scale protests in Washington last year. The analysis also revealed that the firm used a network of more than 70 fake news websites to share pro-China content.
One of the protests in question targeted a U.S. government ban on goods produced in China’s Xinjiang region, where the Chinese government has been accused by U.S. officials of engaging in systematic repression of the Uyghur population. The second protest occurred on the sidelines of a June conference on international religious freedom.
However, the protesters seemed to be unaware of their involvement in a pro-China influence campaign since they were carrying placards and chanting slogans related to racial discrimination and abortion in the United States. The Chinese firm also distributed videos of these protests online to amplify the reach of their influence campaign.
Mandiant’s senior analyst, Ryan Serabian, stated that the campaign was “intended to sow discord in U.S. society.” (Related: China plotted to infiltrate Federal Reserve to mine data.) Watch Chinese affairs analyst Gordon Chang expound on the CCP’s infiltration of the United States.
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