A Man Was Arrested in China for Spreading Fake News via ChatGPT

China’s police have caught a man who is accused of using ChatGPT, a text generator powered by artificial intelligence, to make up a story about a fake train crash that he then posted online. The police said this was the first time someone was arrested for using ChatGPT in China, where it is against the law.

A police report on WeChat (link in Chinese) says that the arrest took place in the province of Gansu in the north. The man who was caught was identified by his last name, Hong, in the news release. He is said to have used ChatGPT to make fake news stories about a train accident that killed several people, which he then posted on Baijiahao, a blog-like platform made by the Chinese internet giant Baidu.

The tweet below confirms the news:

China has strict rules about how its people can use the internet, so using ChatGPT is against the law. Bloomberg says that the exact crime Hong is accused of is “picking fights and making trouble,” which can get you up to five years in prison.

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China’s AI regulations

OpenAI, a company backed by Microsoft, made ChatGPT. It came out in November 2022 as a free service that anyone could use. Chinese tech giants like Baidu and Alibaba, as well as big companies like Google, have been quick to say they have their own versions.

The US and European governments haven’t made any rules about the technology yet, but the Chinese government has already made rules for companies that work in the generative AI area. The Cyberspace Administration of China put out rules last month about how material made by AI bots should “reflect the core values of socialism and must not contain subversion of state power.”

The rules said that any material like this should also be true. Hong’s case seems to be one of the first times that a law has been used. This law is likely to be tested more in the years to come.

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