Microsoft on how Russia and China are using AI, social media to influence upcoming US elections – Times of India

Microsoft has said that Russia and China have started to influence the upcoming US presidential elections. Noting the use of social media and AI technology for voter manipulation, the company also highlights the differences between campaigns run by Russia- and China-linked actors.
As per insights and analysis in the second Microsoft Threat Intelligence Election Report, the company said that foreign malign influence in the upcoming election is at a slower pace as compared to the 2016 and 2020 due to the less contested primary season.
“Russian efforts are focused on undermining US support for Ukraine while China seeks to exploit societal polarisation and diminish faith in US democratic systems,” Microsoft said. The company also downplayed the use of sophisticated AI content but noted that simpler “shallow” AI-enhanced and AI audio fake content will likely have more success.

‘Russia engaged Ukraine-related disinformation’

As per the report, Russian influence operations picked up steam in the past two months and the Microsoft Threat Analysis Center (MTAC) claims to have tracked at least 70 Russian actors engaged in Ukraine-focused disinformation. These actors are reportedly using traditional and social media for their campaigns.
Microsoft says that a Russian threat actor Storm-1516 “has successfully laundered anti-Ukraine narratives into US audiences using a consistent pattern across multiple languages.”
The group first presents an individual as a whistleblower or citizen journalist, who seeds a narrative on a purpose-built video channel. The actor then shows a video “by a seemingly unaffiliated global network of covertly managed websites” followed by amplification by “Russian expats, officials, and fellow travellers.” The US audiences then “repost the disinformation, likely unaware of the original source.”

‘China using a multi-tiered approach’

Microsoft says unlike Russia, China is trying to capitalise on existing socio-political divides. As per the report, China is increasingly using AI in election-related influence campaigns where “People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-linked actors leverage generative AI technologies to effectively create and enhance images, memes, and videos.”
Furthermore, Microsoft noted that AI-enhanced content is more influential than fully AI-generated content, and that AI audio is more impactful than AI video.
Microsoft’s report also notes that there has been limited activity from Iran but it “will likely launch acute cyber-enabled influence operations closer to US Election Day.

Latest news
Related news