European Commission warns Microsoft Bing over AI-generated misinformation before elections

(MENAFN) In a significant development, the European Commission has issued a stern warning to Microsoft's Bing search engine, indicating potential financial penalties for its failure to comply with requests for information regarding the risks associated with misleading information propagated through its artificial intelligence (AI) functions. The Commission's action comes amid growing concerns about the proliferation of misinformation and its potential impact on public opinion, particularly in the lead-up to the European elections scheduled between June 6 and 9. With Brussels intensifying pressure on major digital platforms to address these risks, Microsoft finds itself under scrutiny for its handling of AI-generated content within the Bing platform.

The European Commission's inquiry, initiated on March 14, sought clarifications from Microsoft regarding the risks stemming from the generative AI features embedded within the Bing search engine. Specifically, the Commission focused on functionalities such as "Copilot in Bing" and "Image Creator by Designer," expressing concerns about their propensity to produce misleading or false content, including "hallucinations" in responses to user queries and the creation of synthetic media such as images, videos, or sounds, commonly known as "deepfakes." These AI-driven capabilities, while offering innovative solutions, raise significant concerns regarding their potential misuse and the dissemination of deceptive content, posing a threat to the integrity of public discourse and democratic processes.

Brussels' apprehensions stem from the fear that the proliferation of such misleading content could undermine the credibility of information available to voters, potentially influencing electoral outcomes and violating the Digital Services Act (DSA) enacted last year. The DSA mandates large digital platforms, including Bing, to assess the risks associated with their services and implement measures to mitigate these risks, thereby safeguarding user trust and societal well-being. Against the backdrop of Russia's alleged attempts to manipulate public opinion through disinformation campaigns on social media platforms, the European Commission's directive to Microsoft underscores the imperative of combatting misinformation and ensuring the integrity of digital ecosystems.

In response to Microsoft's purported non-compliance with the Commission's requests for information, Brussels has taken a decisive step by ordering the tech giant to furnish the requisite data in accordance with the provisions of the Digital Services Law. The Commission's firm stance underscores its commitment to holding digital platforms accountable for their role in mitigating the risks associated with misinformation, thereby upholding democratic values and preserving the integrity of public discourse in the digital age. 



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