Type to search

US ‘Weather Weapon’, AI in New Phase of Disinformation – NYT

Researchers from Microsoft and other groups say China was behind fake social media posts that claimed fires in Hawaii last month were caused by a secret “weather weapon” made by the US

Internet researchers say China was behind claims that the Maui fires were caused by a US 'weather weapon'.
An aerial view of the wildfire in Maui in Hawaii on August 8, 2023 in this screen grab from a social media video via Reuters.


Researchers from Microsoft, RAND Corporation, NewsGuard and other bodies allege that China was behind a “flurry of false posts that spread across the Internet” claiming that deadly wildfires that struck Maui in Hawaii last month were “the result of a secret ‘weather weapon’ tested by the United States, according to a report by the New York Times yesterday (Sept 11), which added that the posts carried photos “that appeared to have been generated by artificial intelligence”, to make them look more authentic.

Previous “influence campaigns” by China had focused on amplifying its propaganda and policies on Taiwan and other topics, whereas these efforts were “more direct attempts to sow discord in the United States”, the report said, noting that while there was no evidence of Russia and China working together in this campaign the two allies often “echo each other’s messages when criticizing US policies”.

Analysts suggested a new era of disinformation was starting, with conspiracy theories and other claims bolstered by the use of AI tools.

A subsequent report by Gizmodo said researchers found the “salacious Chinese disinformation campaign” on 85 social media accounts and blogs, adding that “conspiracy-laden content was written in 15 different languages and appeared on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and around a dozen other platforms.”

It noted that “there’s no evidence the US military is working on, or could even theoretically produce, a weapon capable of summoning fires and floods on command.”

Read the full reports: The New York Times.

And Gizmodo.




Country Garden Stock Jumps as Creditors Back Bond Extensions


TikTok’s $1.3bn EU Data Centres Plan to Dodge Bans – Wired


Chip Plants, AI, Boeing Deals Agreed at US-Vietnam Meetings


Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


AF China Bond