China arrests man for ‘misusing’ ChatGPT in first case of its kind

File photo: A man in China ‘misused’ ChatGPT to spread fake news about a train crash (PA Wire)
File photo: A man in China ‘misused’ ChatGPT to spread fake news about a train crash (PA Wire)

China has made its first-known arrest in a case involving the misuse of ChatGPT by a man to allegedly generate fake news about a train crash.

Police in the northwest Gansu province arrested the man, identified only by his second name Hong, for using the artificial intelligence technology to allegedly create variations of a fake news piece and then sharing it on the country’s social media, where it was shared widely.

Local reports said the fake news item about the crash had elements from various trending news pieces.

The fake news said the crash killed nine people in Gansu on 25 April.

The piece gained more than 15,000 clicks on Chinese social media by the time police came to know of its inauthenticity.

Local cyber security officers caught the circulation of the fake news and launched an investigation that led to the arrest of Mr Hong.

Earlier this year in January, China’s first regulations regarding deep fake technology applications officially went into effect. The regulations aim to help boost the development of the artificial intelligence industry and prevent its misuse.

The regulations, released by the Cyberspace Administration of China, the industry and information technology ministry and the public security ministry, state that the videos and photos made using AI must be “clearly labelled” to avoid confusion.

“The specialised regulation issued by China for deep synthesis services has and will continue to have a far-reaching impact on the healthy development of internet information services,” Meng Dan, director of the Institute of Information Engineering at the Chinese Academy of Sciences said at the time.

Police in Gansu said their investigation revealed a total of 21 accounts on Baijiahao – a blog-style platform of Chinese tech company Baidu – that posted different versions of the news piece simultaneously, with different accident locations.

Police said they tracked all 21 accounts on Baijiahao that had shared the AI-generated fake news to a marketing company in Shenzhen.

Mr Hong, the representative of the company, was later arrested and charged with “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” by police.