Investigation: fake profiles of journalists created by a neural network were used to propagate Middle East countries

On behalf of the fictional authors, publications were published in conservative American media and publications in the Gulf countries.

Conservative publications in some Gulf countries issued propaganda on behalf of fake journalists and authors whose profiles the neural network created, according to an investigation by The Daily Beast. The authors found that at least 19 fake “experts” wrote articles expressing the “right” ideas of the Middle East. Among the profiles created by artificial intelligence were also analysts and political consultants.

Fake journalists mainly published articles in Arabian Eye and Persia Now, but also wrote for American media such as the Washington Examiner and American Thinker . The “experts” had accounts on Twitter, but after an investigation by The Daily Beast, their profiles were blocked.

neural network-generated photos of people not related to the material of the Verge photo

The creator of the neural network is unknown, but articles by fake authors share some of the political views of the editors. “Experts” advocated additional sanctions against Iran, spoke well of the United Arab Emirates, criticized Qatar and praised the Gulf countries for “ exemplary resilience ” to the Covid-19 pandemic and “ strong diplomatic ties ” with the European Union.

To create fake profiles, a neural network generates images of people using services such as ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com . But sometimes artificial intelligence “steals” existing avatars, modifying them using various techniques (for example, mirroring or changing the background) so that they could not be found through a search in the picture.

 

neural network-generated photos of people not related to the material of the Verge photo

This is not the first time that AI has been used to create fictional experts. In 2019, The Associated Press published material that exposed the profile of a certain Katie Jones on LinkedIn. The profile created by the neural network was used to spy on officials. Before the journalists found this out, Jones managed to work in one of the leading think tanks and at the Brookings Institution, as well as enter into correspondence with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Paul Winfrey.

Description of Katy Jones’s avatar created by the AR Photo Network

 

 

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