Microsoft Report: China Escalates AI-Driven Influence Operations

In its latest report, Microsoft’s threat center highlights China’s intensified use of AI-generated content and fake social media accounts to fuel division, particularly in the United States.

According to the report, Beijing has significantly increased its focus and sophistication in influence operations, aiming to exploit divisions and potentially influence outcomes, including the US presidential election. Clint Watts, general manager of Microsoft’s threat analysis center, notes that China employs fake social media accounts to poll US voters on divisive issues, strategically identifying demographic support and divisive topics.

The report underscores China’s opportunistic approach, leveraging events such as train derailments and wildfires to foster mistrust in the US government. Despite these efforts, the report suggests limited success in swaying opinions thus far.

Notably, the report points out the continuity of Chinese influence operations, with social media accounts affiliated with the Chinese government persistently engaging in divisive discourse around US domestic issues. These accounts utilize various content formats, including original videos, memes, and infographics, to amplify their messaging.

Moreover, Microsoft observes a surge in the use of AI-generated content in China-linked online influence operations, particularly during Taiwan’s presidential election in January. The report predicts that China will continue to utilize AI-generated content to advance its interests, especially with upcoming elections worldwide, such as those in India, South Korea, and the United States.

Additionally, the report sheds light on North Korea’s adoption of AI for illicit activities, including cryptocurrency theft, supply chain attacks, and military intelligence gathering.


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