Hate speech-spewing AI bots disrupt Council meeting call-ins

Occurred: October 2023-

City council meetings across the US have been disrupted by AI-generated bots spouting hate speech and racial slurs, prompting concerns about the misuse of AI to disrupt local politics and civic discourse.

In October 2023, a Beaverton City Council meeting was hijacked by AI-powered bots posing as pseudonymous local citizens attacking the Jewish mayor and other members of the Jewish community with hate speech and anti-Semitic slurs. The incident left councilors and onlookers, including children, bemused, shocked and anxious. Mayor Lacey Beaty was forced to intervene and mute the fake callers. 

A November 2023 Walla Walla, Washington, city council meeting on property tax revenues was disrupted by a barrage of racial slurs, profanity and antisemitic language spouted by fake, AI-generated bot call-in speakers. Staff were forced to cut the speaker off, and the City Council subsequently approved a new policy to cut off inappropriate commenters.

Beaty later said she had discovered that these kinds of incidents were mostly happening in cities with female mayors. However, it was unclear who was behind the attacks and whether they were related. 

System 🤖

Country: USA
Sector: Govt - municipal; Politics
Purpose: Damage reputation
Technology: Bot/intelligent agent
Issue: Dual/multi-use
Transparency: Governance