China makes first arrest of man using ChatGPT to fabricate, spread fake news
Updated 20:26, 09-May-2023


Police in northwest China's Gansu Province detained a man who allegedly generated fake news with artificial intelligence (AI) technology and disseminated it on Chinese social media platforms.

The man surnamed Hong was reported to have used ChatGPT to create the news of a fatal train crash with elements collected from different trending news.

The fabricated story, which said nine people were killed after a train hit road workers in Gansu Province on April 25, caught the attention of local cyber security officers.

They immediately launched an investigation and found that a total of 21 accounts on Baijiahao, a blog-style platform of China's search engine giant Baidu, posted different versions of the article simultaneously, involving different accident locations.

The fake news gained more than 15,000 clicks by that time.

The police traced all the accounts involved in the case from a "we-media" marketing company registered in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province.

Hong, the legal representative of the company who made use of AI technology to concoct false and untrue information that was widely spread and viewed, has been arrested and charged with picking quarrels and provoking trouble.

The case is requires further investigation.

China's deepfake rules

This is the first of such case since the country's first regulations regarding deepfake technology applications went into effect in January.

The regulations, aimed at boosting the development of the AI industry and preventing the misuse of the technology, state that synthetic videos and photos made through deep synthesis technology, commonly known as "deepfake," must be clearly labeled to prevent public confusion.

The regulations also cover the responsibilities of deepfake providers and users, to include prohibiting illegal acts by using the tech, setting up a review system and identifying user information.

As OpenAI's ChatGPT becomes popular, with Chinese online search giant Baidu and other technological companies unveiling rival products afterwards, generative AI technology these chatbots used has attracted Chinese cyberspace regulators' attentions.

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) had released draft regulations on April 11 for managing generative AI services, with which are  expected to come into effect sometime this year, according to the CAC.

It said that the country supports AI's independent innovation, popularization and application, but related products or services should comply with the requirements of laws and regulations, and respect social morality and public order.

It proposed requirements from service providers' access, algorithm design, training data selection, content generalized, and users' privacy and business secrets.

Service providers are obliged to take risk prevention measures and respond to regulatory requirements, said Liu Xiaochun, an associate professor at the Law School of the University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, in an interview.

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