A man who allegedly used ChatGPT to generate news about a fake train crash has been detained in China, marking the country’s first known arrest in connection with the use of the AI chatbot.
Authorities in Pingliang, Gansu province, first noticed the fabricated news on April 25, according to local reports. It stated that a train accidentally went off the rails and hit an ongoing road construction, killing nine people.
Investigation revealed that 21 accounts on Baijiahao, a blogging platform run by Baidu — China’s version of Google — simultaneously posted the false news. They collectively received at least 15,000 clicks before police took notice.
The probe zeroed in on Hong Moudi, a legal representative of a Shenzhen-based company that operated personal media platforms, according to Sing Tao Daily.
He reportedly confessed to using ChatGPT to produce the fake news and bypassing Baijiahao’s anti-duplication system to disseminate the story on multiple accounts, making illegal profits from web traffic.
ChatGPT is unavailable in China and is accessed only via VPNs.
Hong’s arrest marks the first time China detained a suspect in connection with provisions announced in January that regulated the use of “deepfake” technology, HKET noted.
Hong is reportedly facing a charge of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” which normally carries a maximum penalty of five years. However, severe cases can carry up to 10 years, as per the South China Morning Post.
“He made profits by making up news and cheating traffic. He deserves to be severely punished,” one Weibo user commented.
Many people might not know this, but NextShark is a small media startup that runs on no outside funding or loans, and with no paywalls or subscription fees, we rely on help from our community and readers like you.
Everything you see today is built by Asians, for Asians to help amplify our voices globally and support each other. However, we still face many difficulties in our industry because of our commitment to accessible and informational Asian news coverage.
We hope you consider making a contribution to NextShark so we can continue to provide you quality journalism that informs, educates, and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for supporting NextShark and our community.