Microsoft chief says Russia is spreading Middle East disinformation

Vice Chariman of Microsoft Brad Smith looks on during the Christchurch Call meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday, Nov. 10, 2023. (Ludovic Marin, Pool via AP)
Vice Chariman of Microsoft Brad Smith looks on during the Christchurch Call meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday, Nov. 10, 2023. (Ludovic Marin, Pool via AP)

Russia has been spreading “disinformation” about the situation in the Middle East, the president of Microsoft says, as tensions soar in the region due to the Israel-Hamas war.

Brad Smith, Microsoft vice chair and president, was asked about the role of the US tech giant in promoting peace at an international peace forum in Paris.

He says that Microsoft and its competitors were fighting against disinformation, in particular by using Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Smith says that Microsoft and other companies are doing this “by creating technological tools that facilitate the detection of manipulated, modified, altered content,” according to remarks translated into French by the France Inter radio station.

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

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

He says the three options facing technology platforms that identify this kind of disinformation are to do nothing, delete it, or re-label it and flag the content has been modified.

“There is no societal consensus about what companies should do,” Smith added.

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