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Russia spreading ‘disinformation’ about Israel-Hamas war

Microsoft chief on Saturday (Nov 11) accused Russia of disseminating “disinformation” about the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas as tensions soar in the Middle East region.

Microsoft vice chair and president, Brad Smith, on being asked about his company’s role in promoting peace at an international peace forum in Paris, said that the US tech giant and its rivals were battling disinformation, especially with the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

He stated that Microsoft and other companies are doing this “by creating technological tools that facilitate the detection of manipulated, modified, altered content,” according to remarks translated into French by radio France Inter.

“We are getting very good at identifying a Russian campaign, like when they tried to tell people not to get the Covid vaccine,” he said.

“Or today, when we see Russian disinformation in the Middle East,” he added.

He said the three options encountering tech platforms that determine this kind of false information are to simply, delete it, or re-label it and flag that the content has been modified.

“There is no societal consensus about what companies should do,” Smith added.

The Paris Peace Forum unfurled against a backdrop of an upsurge in the conflict around the globe, and more than a month into the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas launched unprecedented attacks against Israel on Oct 7, which Tel Aviv claims killed nearly 1,200 people and 239 were taken hostages by the militant group’s gunmen.

Israel has since then retaliated by fiercely bombarding Gaza.

Earlier, the EU had opened disinformation probes into TikTok, X and Meta amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

The European Commission had sent formal requests seeking details on measures taken by the tech giants to curb the spread of false information on their respective platforms.

“I would ask you to be very vigilant to ensure strict compliance with the DSA rules on terms of service, on the requirement of timely, diligent and objective action following notices of illegal content in the EU, and on the need for proportionate and effective mitigation measures,” the European Union’s industry chief Thierry Breton told Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a letter. WION News

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