China Arrests Man for Spreading Fake News Using ChatGPT

UTC by Bhushan Akolkar · 3 min read
China Arrests Man for Spreading Fake News Using ChatGPT
Photo: Depositphotos

The accused managed to input the elements of trending social stories in China from past years into ChatGPT thereby producing different versions of the same fake story

The police from the Northwestern Gansu province (China) have detained a man for spreading fake news of a train crash online using the artificial intelligence technology platform ChatGPT. In a statement on Sunday, May 7, police from the northwestern Gansu province said that the suspected man named “Hong” has been detained for using artificial intelligence technology to concoct false and untrue information.

As reported by the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the police detained Hong after an investigation into an unsubstantiated article relating to train crash discovered on April 18 by law enforcement agents.

Hong’s arrest came after cybersecurity specialists discovered that at least 20 accounts posted the fake news article simultaneously. Interestingly, they posted this article to a popular blogging website hosted by the Chinese tech giant and search engine Baidu. By the time the story came to authorities’ attention, it has already received 15,000 clicks.

This detention by Chinese authorities comes to public attention for the first time since Beijing unveiled the first provisions to regulate the use of “deepfake” technology that officially took effect in January 2023.

The police further traced the origins of the article to a company owned by Hong which operated personal media platforms registered in Shenzhen in Guangdong province in southern China. 10 days later, the police team searched Hong’s home and detained him.

As per the Gansu public security department, Hong has been suspected of the crime of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. This charge carries a maximum sentence of five years. However, in cases deemed extremely severe, the offenders can face a jail term of 10 years along with additional penalties, reported the South China Morning Post.

ChatGPT Ban in China

China has currently banned the use of ChatGPT, however, users can obfuscate it using virtual private networks (VPNs). However, during the confession, Hong said that he managed to bypass Baijiahao’s duplication check function to publish on multiple accounts.

Later, he also managed to input the elements of trending social stories in China from past years into ChatGPT thereby producing different versions of the same fake story and later uploading it to his Baijiahao accounts.

After, Microsoft and Google announced their innovations like ChatGPT and Google Bard, the Chinese IT outlets started experimenting with similar versions. Chinese authorities have been closely monitoring social media content through firewalls, especially the Sina Weibo platform which has more than 592 million users, in order to ensure that there’s no critical information against the CCP.

Artificial Intelligence, News, Technology News
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