Taiwanese Groups Allege Chinese Interference in Election Using AI

On Monday, Taiwanese groups outlined a huge disinformation campaign that was employed by actors in China during its national elections that ended in January.

The attacks that the Taiwanese groups allege involved Chinese actors using generative artificial intelligence to manipulate various videos so that they showed discord within Taiwan.

One of the videos distorted the words of at least one member of U.S. Congress, Taiwanese officials and non-governmental groups said as they briefed reporters at the National Press Club.

Many of the narratives of the disinformation campaign focused on America, including accusations that Washington has built biological labs in Taiwan or is fomenting the war that’s taking place between Hamas and Israel.

The Taiwanese national elections actually worked out in America’s favor, as a pro-U.S. candidate won.

Many people are worried, though, that the disinformation campaigns China launched in Taiwan could foreshadow its plans to manipulate how people think in the lead-up to the presidential election here in November.

Chihhao Yu, who serves as the Taiwan Information Environment Research Center’s co-director, said that his organization documented 84 narratives that China propagated that sought to stoke skepticism with the U.S.

He said the Chinese actors are trying to “fortify and reinforce” the pro-China “alternative worldview.” He further said that his NGO is trying to combat this through focus group discussions at the local level and data collection so they can better understand what impact this information manipulation might be having.

As he said:

“We need to figure out how that is reaching from our phones to our minds and how that is changing our perception of the world and how that is damaging our shared reality. We no longer share a shared reality.”

Just this month, Microsoft released a report about the disinformation campaigns that China is undertaking, which showed they are using similar tactics in America to the ones they used in Taiwan.

Some social media accounts that are linked to Chinese government officials and agencies have posted recently about candidates in the U.S. presidential election.

Two of the most active Chinese actors are known as Spamouflage and Gingham Typhoon, the latter of which is extremely active in the Indo-Pacific region.

In its report, Microsoft warned that these Chinese actors “honed their techniques and experimented with new media” last year. That involved using a strategy that’s very complex and uses memes and news anchors that are generated by AI.

The tech company says these technological capabilities could help China influence U.S. elections in the future.

In the report, Microsoft said:

“We are prepared to see influence actors interact with Americans for engagement and to potentially research perspectives on U.S. politics. China will, at a minimum, create and amplify AI-generated content that benefits their positions in these high-profile elections.”

The head of the Global Taiwan Institute, Russel Hsaio, said that China was “undermining the credibility and reliability of the United States” not just in Taiwan but in other countries around the world as well.