China cracks down on AI-generated news anchors

China cracks down on AI-generated news anchors

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On Monday, China’s internet regulator said it had run a campaign to rid the nation of fake news.

The State Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said the crackdown would “clear and standardize the order of network communication in key traffic links,” focusing on news providers like short video platforms and popular search lists.

The org also cites AI virtual anchors, forged studio scenes, fake news accounts that are made to mimic existing legitimate ones, cutting and pasting news bits to skew storylines, among other methods that arouse netizens’ emotions to gather attention and traffic, or even for nefarious purposes. Clickbait, in other words.

The CAC said it has already “cleared” 107,000 counterfeit news accounts and fake anchors, and 835,000 pieces of false information. The internet regulator urges citizens to report such fake news accounts as they encounter them online.

Last week, Chinese police said they detained an individual for creating fake news using ChatGPT, in accordance with the country’s AI media law, which seeks to crack down on fake news that relies on AI generated content including deepfakes.

The detained person – a man named Hong from the Chinese province of Gansu – used ChatGPT to create a news article about a train crash that killed nine construction workers. The news was quickly spread by twenty-one social media accounts that led it to garner 15,000 views.

The police raided Hong’s house and took unspecified measures against him. The police reported the motivation behind the crime was to increase traffic.

On Monday, AI image generator Midjourney reportedly announced on WeChat it had a beta version of its product available in China. At this time, users must access the platform via Tencent’s QQ channel.

ChatGPT is currently unavailable in China, but users can access it using a phone number from a supported country and a virtual private network (VPN). Access to foreign phone numbers and VPNs is restricted in China.

The AI generated media law went into effect on January 10, 2023. Local police are claiming it’s the first use of the law in Gansu province.

The law doesn’t just target individuals like Hong. It also requires “deep synthesis service providers” to ensure their AI algorithms are not being misused for illegal activities like fraud, scams, and fake information.

The potential for this to be problematic is high for service providers like Tencent, the maker of WeChat. The web giant has recently announced a Deepfakes-as-a-Service product that, for just $145, offers customers the ability to create their very own high-definition digital human. ®

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