Russia spreading disinformation amid Israel-Hamas war: Microsoft president

Russia has been spreading “disinformation” about the situation in the Middle East amid Israel-Hamas war, Microsoft president Brad Smith said Saturday at an international peace forum in Paris.

Vice Chariman of Microsoft Brad Smith looks on during the 5th Summit of “Christchurch Call”, at the Elysee Presidential Palace in Paris, France November 10.(via REUTERS)

Smith said Microsoft and other companies use smart technology (Artificial Intelligence) to find and stop this misleading information. They create tools to catch changed or fake content.

“We are getting very good at identifying a Russian campaign, like when they tried to tell people not to get the Covid vaccine,” he said.

“Or today, when we see Russian disinformation in the Middle East,” he added.

Smith said platforms dealing with this problem have three choices: do nothing, delete the fake stuff, or mark it as changed. But he pointed towards lack of consensus on what these companies should do in these situations.

Since the Hamas attacks in Israel on October 7, Israel has heavenly bombarded Gaza and deployed ground troops. According to Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry, over 11,000 people, including many children, have lost their lives.

Microsoft recently shared new plans to prevent political disinformation from high-tech risks, like AI. Brad Smith and Teresa Hutson from Microsoft said that by 2024, some countries might use technology to meddle in elections. They could blend traditional tricks with AI and other new tools to mess with the fairness of voting systems, they said in a blogpost.

To tackle this, Microsoft is rolling out tools next year. One of them lets candidates add “credentials” to their pictures or videos. These credentials act like a special mark, showing that the content is genuine and hasn’t been altered since it got its credentials.

“These watermarking credentials empower an individual or organization to assert that an image or video came from them while protecting against tampering by showing if content was altered after its credentials were created,” Smith and Hutson said in the post.

It’s a way for people or groups to say, “Hey, this is really from us!” the blogpost read.

Additionally, Microsoft plans to put together a team to assist election campaigns in dealing with AI threats. This includes fighting against cyber influence campaigns and stopping the spread of fake images.

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