Philadelphia sheriff posts fake AI-generated news stories

Occurred: February 2024

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The campaign team for Philadelphia’s sheriff used fake positive stories generated by AI posted to her website to help make the case for her re-election. 

The Philadelphia Inquiry drew attention to a series of articles under the names of local news publications that had been posted to Rochelle Bilal's website that supposedly highlighted her first term accomplishments but which proved to be non-existent. Bilal's team later acknowledged that the stories had been generated by ChatGPT, though argued they had been based on real events. 

The incident was seen to raise ethical questions about the integrity of Bilal's campaign and the possible erosion of trust in elections and democracy posed by AI-generated misinformation and disinformation. It also highlighted concerns about OpenAI's willingness or ability to police its policies regarding the political use of ChatGPT and its other products.


Operator: Philadelphia citizens
Developer: OpenAI
Country: USA
Sector: Politics
Purpose: Support political campaign
Technology: Chatbot; NLP/text analysis; Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning; Reinforcement learning
Issue: Ethics/values; Mis/disinformation
Transparency: Governance; Marketing