Home China Chinese Government Is Leveraging AI To Target US Voters, Says Microsoft Report

Chinese Government Is Leveraging AI To Target US Voters, Says Microsoft Report

Online actors linked to the Chinese government are increasingly leveraging AI to target voters in the U.S. and elsewhere with disinformation, according to a new cyber-threat report published on Friday by Microsoft. The report says that Chinese-linked campaigns have laundered false information through fake accounts on social-media platforms, seeking to identify divisive domestic political issues and potentially influence elections.

The Microsoft report says that the tactics have been identified directly tie the use of generative AI tools to a covert state-sponsored online influence operation against foreign voters. They also demonstrate more-advanced methods than was previously seen. It is not just the US. China will attempt to disrupt elections in South Korea, and India this year, Microsoft has warned.

“As populations in India, South Korea and the United States head to the polls, we are likely to see Chinese cyber and influence actors, and to some extent North Korean cyber actors, work toward targeting these elections,” the report reads. The company added that the impact of AI-made content was minor but warned that could change.

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“While the impact of such content in swaying audiences remains low, China’s increasing experimentation in augmenting memes, videos and audio will continue – and may prove effective down the line,” said Microsoft.

Already China has made attempts to influence the Taiwan election through AI. A Beijing-backed group called Storm 1376, also known as Spamouflage or Dragonbridge, was highly active during the Taiwanese election. Its attempts to influence the election included posting fake audio on YouTube of the election candidate Terry Gou – who had bowed out in November – endorsing another candidate. Microsoft said the clip was “likely AI generated”.

The Microsoft report added that Chinese groups continue to mount influence campaigns in the US. It said Beijing-backed actors are using social media accounts to pose “divisive questions” to understand issues dividing US voters. “This could be to gather intelligence and precision on key voting demographics ahead of the US Presidential election,” said Microsoft in a blog post accompanying the report.