Chinese AI campaign accuses US government of Kentucky train derailment cover-up

Occurred: November 2023-

The derailment of a train carrying molten sulphur in Kentucky, USA, resulted in an opportunistic, AI-powered disinformation campaign by a group associated with the Chinese government. 

Approximately one week after the derailment of the train, China's Storm-1376 group (also known as Spamouflage and Dragonbridge launched a social media-based campaign that amplified the derailment, spread anti-US government conspiracy theories, and highlighted political divisions among US voters with the objective of encouraging mistrust of and disillusionment with the US government. 

Storm-1376 urged audiences to consider whether the US government may have caused the derailment and is 'deliberately hiding something.' Some messages even likened the derailment to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor cover-up theories.

Whilst it is unclear how successful the campaign was in meeting its objectives, the campaign is seen as an example of how AI can be misused for geo-political purposes.

System 🤖

Operator: Government of China; Dragonbridge; Spamouflage; Storm 1376
Country: China; USA
Sector: Govt - foreign; Transport/logistics
Purpose: Scare/confuse/destabalise
Issue: Mis/disinformation
Transparency: Governance; Marketing