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OpenAI claims Israeli firm attempted to disrupt Lok Sabha Elections 2024, peddled anti-BJP agenda

Flagged in May, the activity targeting Indian polls was highlighted in the report, which also identifies the "network was operated by STOIC, a political campaign management firm in Israel."

OpenAI claims Israeli firm attempted to disrupt Lok Sabha Elections 2024, peddled anti-BJP agenda snt
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First Published May 31, 2024, 8:16 PM IST

In a startling disclosure, OpenAI reveals it has disrupted covert operations aimed at utilizing artificial intelligence models to influence elections in India. This revelation comes just four days before the results of the Lok Sabha Elections 2024 are set to be declared.

According to a threat intelligence report by OpenAI, a for-hire Israeli firm has been implicated in the clandestine activities. The report states that the firm "began generating comments that focused on India, criticized the ruling BJP party, and praised the opposition Congress party."

Flagged in May, the activity targeting Indian polls was highlighted in the report, which also identifies the "network was operated by STOIC, a political campaign management firm in Israel."

The OpenAI report highlights campaigns utilizing AI for covert operations aimed at manipulating public opinion or influencing political outcomes.

“While we observed these threat actors using our models for a range of IO, they all attempted to deceive people about who they were or what they were trying to achieve,” the report mentions.

The report additionally alleges that a cluster of accounts, operated from Israel, were responsible for generating and editing content for the covert operations. This content was disseminated across various platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, websites, and YouTube.

“In early May, it (the network) began targeting audiences in India with English-language content,” the report claims.

OpenAI is an artificial intelligence research organization that was established in December 2015.

Reacting to the report, Union Minister of Electronics and Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said, "It is absolutely clear and obvious that BJP was and is the target of influence operations, misinformation and foreign interference, being done by and/or on behalf of some Indian political parties."

He called it a "dangerous threat" to the country's democracy.

"It is clear: vested interests in India and outside are clearly driving this and needs to be deeply scrutinised/investigated and exposed," Rajeev Chandrasekhar said.

"My view at this point is that these platforms could have released this much earlier, and not so late when elections are ending," he added.

Meta has also released a report stating that they have removed numerous accounts, pages, and groups on Instagram targeting the Sikh community across various countries including India, Australia, Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Pakistan, and Nigeria. According to the report, the network originated in China.

"The operation used compromised and fake accounts to pose as Sikhs, post content and manage Pages and Groups," the report claims.

It further claims that a "fictitious activist movement called Operation K" was created by the network, calling for pro-Sikh protests.

"We found and removed this activity early, before it was able to build an audience among authentic communities," the report mentions.

The network predominantly posted in English and Hindi, focusing on news topics and utilizing images that were "likely manipulated by photo editing tools or generated by artificial intelligence."

Content flagged by Meta included discussions about floods in the Punjab region, updates on the Sikh community globally, mentions of the pro-Khalistan movement, reports on the killing of terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada, and content critical of the Indian government.

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