"China Sows Disinformation About Hawaii Fires Using New Techniques"

"Beijing’s influence campaign using artificial intelligence is a rapid change in tactics, researchers from Microsoft and other organizations say."

"When wildfires swept across Maui last month with destructive fury, China’s increasingly resourceful information warriors pounced.

The disaster was not natural, they said in a flurry of false posts that spread across the internet, but was the result of a secret “weather weapon” being tested by the United States. To bolster the plausibility, the posts carried photographs that appeared to have been generated by artificial intelligence programs, making them among the first to use these new tools to bolster the aura of authenticity of a disinformation campaign.

For China — which largely stood on the sidelines of the 2016 and 2020 U.S. presidential elections while Russia ran hacking operations and disinformation campaigns — the effort to cast the wildfires as a deliberate act by American intelligence agencies and the military was a rapid change of tactics."

David E. Sanger and Steven Lee Myers report for the New York Times September 11, 2023.


"Salacious Chinese Disinformation Campaign Blames Maui Fires on Deadly American 'Weather Weapon'" (Gizmodo)

"Influence Campaign Spread During Maui Wildfires" (Politico)

"Mistrust On Cause Of Maui Fire Fueled By Chinese Disinformation" (Honolulu Star-Advertiset)

"Rumors And Conspiracy Theories: Authorities Try To Stamp Out Maui Wildfire Disinformation" (Hawaii News Now)

"Police Debunk Social Media Misinformation Linking Oregon Wildfires To Activists" (Reuters)

"False Wildfire And Election Information Is Thriving Online. Here's How You Can Tackle It" (CBC)

"Hawaii Fires: Spread Of Conspiracy Theories Reveals Tech Firms’ Failings" (Guardian)

"Maui Conspiracy Theories Are Spreading On Social Media. Why This Always Happens After A Disaster" (CNN)

"Disinformation Spreading Like Wildfire" (AFP)

"The Sunshine Blog: Misinformation, Island Style" (Honolulu Civil Beat)

"Online Posts Spread Misinformation About FEMA Aid Following Maui Wildfires" (AP)

"Conspiracy Theories Falsely Tie Maui Wildfires To ‘Smart Cities’ And Tech Conferences" (AP)

Source: NYTimes, 09/13/2023