China’s AI-based election meddling in Taiwan points to 2024 risks in the US

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Taiwanese groups on Monday outlined a massive disinformation campaign used by Chinese actors during the island nation’s national election, which ended in January and saw a pro-US candidate win for Beijing. The blow came.

According to Taiwanese officials and non-governmental groups who briefed reporters, the alleged tactics by Chinese actors were to use generative artificial intelligence (AI) to manipulate videos and sow dissent in Taiwan, including in Congress. Completely distorting the words of at least one US member. National Press Club.

Many disinformation narratives focus on the US, such as falsely accusing Washington of building a biological laboratory in Taiwan or fueling the war in Gaza between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The narrative hints at how China is trying to sway public opinion during this year’s US presidential election.

Other Chinese disinformation published by Taiwanese groups refers to the United States as a fake ally that will abandon Taiwan, accuses Washington of fake democracy and blames Americans for creating chaos around the world. Accuses of seeding — all while Chinese propaganda portrays Beijing as a source of goodness. and order.

Chihao Yu, co-director of the Taiwan Information Environment Research Center, a non-governmental organization (NGO) specializing in information research, said his organization had documented 84 narratives by China to raise American suspicions. Shaped.

Chihao said Chinese actors are pushing for “stronger and stronger” pro-Beijing “alternative worldviews”, which he said are needed to understand the implications of their NGO information manipulation. Focusing on local level data collection and group discussions.

“We need to know how it’s moving from our phones to our minds and how it’s changing our perception of the world and how it’s undermining our shared reality,” he said. said about the spread of “We no longer share a common reality.”

The campaign in Taiwan is of particular concern to Washington because China is using similar tactics in the U.S., according to Microsoft, which released a report this month on Beijing’s disinformation campaigns.

Microsoft said some accounts linked to the Chinese government had posted about presidential candidates in the US election. One of the Chinese actors spreading the propaganda is commonly known as SpamFlag, and the other is an espionage group called Gingham Typhoon, which is very active in the Indo-Pacific.

Microsoft warned that Chinese actors had “honored their techniques and experimented with new media” in the Indo-Pacific last year, using a complex strategy of AI-generated news anchors and memes, and influencing elections. Can improve your ability to style.

“We are poised to see influential actors interact with Americans to engage with them and potentially gain insight into American politics,” Microsoft warned in the report. “China, at the very least, will create and amplify AI-generated content that benefits its positions in these high-profile elections.”

Russell Hsiao, executive director of the Washington-based Global Taiwan Institute, a research non-profit, said China is “undermining America’s reputation and credibility” in Taiwan and other countries.

“So it is even more important that there are stronger and better and more effective public-private partnerships within Taiwan, between civil society and government, but also between governments and civil society internationally.”

NGOs said the misinformation campaign in Taiwan was spread on popular apps, such as the video-sharing platform TikTok, which has been hotly debated in the US. Some lawmakers want to ban Chinese-owned TikTok as a national security threat. The House passed a bill in March that would ban TikTok unless it is sold by its Chinese parent company, ByteDance.

Analysts are increasingly warning that China is trying to influence US elections this year.

The Center for American Progress, a US think tank, warned in a report earlier this year that China’s AI-powered disinformation efforts “have intensified.”

Researchers have written that Chinese actors are trying to get Taiwan’s social media accounts and pay influencers to promote its narrative.

“It uses these methods to manipulate algorithms and flood online spaces with high volumes of content to increase proliferation,” they wrote. “As the United States prepares for the 2024 elections, Washington can assess both China’s disinformation efforts in Taiwan and the effectiveness of Taiwan’s countermeasures.”

Taiwan’s elections were held in mid-January. The winner, Lai Ching-te, whose pro-American party currently governs Taiwan and rejects Chinese sovereignty over the island, defeated a candidate from the more pro-Chinese Kuomintang Party.

The election is being watched closely by both the US and China as tensions rise over a possible Chinese invasion or blockade of Taiwan. The US has informal relations with Taiwan but pledges to support Taipei. Chinese leader Xi Jinping has told his troops to be ready for a possible attack by 2027.

During the election, in addition to a disinformation campaign, China threatened Taiwan by repeatedly flying aircraft and spy balloons into Taipei’s airspace and exclusive zone over the strait that separates the two countries.

The election was ultimately a blow for Beijing because it cemented Taiwan’s preference for closer ties with the United States, and it showed that voters were largely unimpressed by Chinese propaganda.

Still, Hua Chiu, editor-in-chief of the NGO Taiwan Fact-Check Center, described a widespread Chinese disinformation campaign that included narratives about the United States as the originator of Covid-19 and That the US will fail to protect Taiwan. war

Eve said the scope of the disinformation campaign was larger than previous elections in Taiwan, with AI fueling the spread of content.

He added that China used the CIA to spread conspiracies about election meddling and the words of Rep. Rob Whitman (R-Va.) to say that the U.S. was ramping up arms shipments to Taiwan.

“It’s very difficult to verify,” he said, adding that the videos are “very sophisticated.”

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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