Microsoft: China Is Deploying AI-Powered Disinformation to Influence U.S. and Taiwanese Voters

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, Bill Gates, left, meets with Chinese
Yin Bogu/Xinhua via AP

China is leveraging artificial intelligence to target voters in the United States, Taiwan, and other countries with disinformation campaigns, according to recent cybersecurity research from Microsoft and U.S. officials.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft’s cyber-threat report, published on Friday, reveals that Chinese-linked online actors are using more advanced methods, including generative AI tools, to spread false information through fake social media accounts. These tactics aim to identify divisive domestic political issues and potentially influence elections in foreign countries.

The report highlights that accounts on X/Twitter, some more than a decade old, began posting last year about topics such as American drug use, immigration policies, and racial tensions. In some cases, these posts relied on relatively rudimentary generative AI for their imagery and asked followers to share opinions about presidential candidates, potentially to gain insights into U.S. voters’ political views.

NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images

Tom Burt, Microsoft’s head of customer security and trust, expressed concern about the evolving tradecraft and ample state resources behind China’s disinformation operations. “We’re seeing them experiment,” Burt said. “I’m worried about where it might go next.”

In Taiwan’s January presidential election, Microsoft detected a surge in the use of more sophisticated AI tools, including an AI-created fake audio clip of a former presidential candidate endorsing one of the remaining candidates. This marked the first time Microsoft’s researchers observed a nation-state actor using AI to attempt to influence a foreign election.

The U.S. intelligence community’s annual worldwide threats report also highlighted China’s increased capabilities to conduct covert influence operations and disseminate disinformation. The report stated that China was “experimenting with generative AI” and intensifying efforts to shape U.S. discourse on issues such as Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.