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AI-Generated Pro-China Propaganda On Youtube

According to new research out of Australia’s Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), there is a vast web of English-speaking YouTube channels that advocate for AI generated pro China oropaganda nn Youtube.

Australian Strategic Policy Institute - Wikipedia

The operatiion is well-coordinated, employing generative AI to quickly create and post content while expertly utilizing YouTube’s algorithmic recommendation engine.

How Extensive Is The Network?

The “Shadow Play” operation encompasses an assortment of a minimum of 30 YouTube channels having around 730,000 subscribers. At the point of writing, the channels had over 4,500 videos with approximately 120 million views.

According to ASPI, the channels grew their audiences by leveraging AI algorithms to cross-promote one other’s content, hence increasing visibility. This is concerning because it permits state messages to cross boundaries while maintaining credible denial.

According to the article, the video network also included an AI avatar produced by the British artificial intelligence startup Synthesia, as well as other AI-generated creatures and voiceovers.

While it is unclear who’s behind the operation, detectives believe the controller speaks Mandarin. They found that the behavior did not resemble that of any recognized state actor in the field of internet influence operations after profiling it. Instead, they speculate that it could be a business firm acting under state guidance.

These findings also serve as the most recent proof that modern influence operations are developing quicker than defensive measures.

Conflicts Of Interest Among Influencers:

Coordination of networks of fake social media accounts and pages that amplify the message is a hallmark of influence tactics like Shadow Play.


For example, in 2020, Facebook shut down a network of over 300 Facebook accounts, pages, and Instagram accounts managed from China and publishing content concerning the US election and the COVID outbreak. As with Shadow Play, these assets collaborated to spread content and enable it to appear more popular than it was.

Is The Current Legislation Sufficient?

When it comes to managing cross-border influence campaigns, the present disclosure standards for sponsored material have some significant loopholes. The majority of consumer protection and advertising legislation in Australia is concerned with commercial sponsorships instead of geopolitical conflicts of interest.

In their stated regulations, platforms like YouTube forbid acts of fraud. Identifying and enforcing infractions, on the other hand, can be hard with foreign state-affiliated accounts that conceal who is pulling the strings.

YouTube Restricting AI-Generated Content

Understanding what is propaganda vs free speech poses serious ethical considerations about censorship and political views. Transparency measures should, ideally, not unreasonably restrict free expression. However, viewers have a right to know about an influencer’s motivations and potential prejudices.

Proposed solutions include a more prominent display of affiliation and location data on channels and explicit disclosures of any affiliations between material and foreign governments, whether indirect or direct.

How Can I Identify Deceptive Content?

As technology advances, it becomes more difficult to determine what objective or conflict of interest could be impacting the content of a film.

Looking towards the creator(s) behind the content can provide some insight for keen viewers. Do they share information about themselves, their location, and their background? A lack of transparency could indicate an attempt to conceal their identity.

You can also evaluate the tone and purpose of the article. Is it motivated by a certain ideological argument? What is a poster’s ultimate goal: are they just attempting to generate clicks, or are they trying to persuade you to believe their point of view?

Look for indicators of credibility, such as what other trustworthy resources say about this creator or their statements. When in doubt, seek the advice of reputable journalists and fact-checkers.

Also, avoid consuming too much stuff from a single creator. So that you can adopt an informed stance, and gather information from credible sources throughout the political spectrum.

The Overall Scenario:

If ethical precautions are not introduced, the advent of AI could exponentially increase the reach and accuracy of coordinated influence operations. At its most extreme, unrestrained AI propaganda dissemination might undermine truth and alter real-world events.

Propaganda efforts may go beyond simply shaping narratives and opinions. They could also be used to create hyper-realistic text, audio, and visual content to radicalize people. This has the potential to profoundly destabilize our societies.

We’re already witnessing precursors of AI psyops with the ability to fake identities, mass-surveil citizens, and automate disinformation manufacturing.

Without an ethics or supervision structure in place for content filtering and recommendation algorithms, social networks might essentially operate as misinformation mega-amplifiers optimized for watch time, no matter the repercussions.

This may corrode social cohesiveness, disrupt elections, provoke violence, and perhaps destroy our democratic institutions over time. And, if we do not act swiftly, the rate of wicked innovation may outpace any regulatory efforts.

It is now more necessary than ever before to establish external control to ensure that social media platforms are used for the greater good rather than for short-term profit.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff at AI Surge is a dedicated team of experts led by Paul Robins, boasting a combined experience of over 7 years in Computer Science, AI, emerging technologies, and online publishing. Our commitment is to bring you authoritative insights into the forefront of artificial intelligence.


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