Newly uncovered documents have exposed Microsoft’s partnerships with Chinese state-run media outlets, raising concerns about the tech giant’s involvement in the dissemination of state propaganda.
The Washington Free Beacon reports that documents reveal the extent of partnerships Microsoft formed with Chinese state-run media outlets, including China Daily and People’s Daily, which are recognized as propaganda arms of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). These collaborations, previously unreported, were forged in 2016 and 2018 and involved Microsoft providing advanced technology and AI capabilities to these outlets.
BEIJING, CHINA – JULY 01: Chinese students wave party and national flags at a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party at Tiananmen Square on July 1, 2021 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
China Daily, under the CCP’s Central Propaganda Department, received technology from Microsoft to target and profile users, while People’s Daily was granted access to Microsoft’s AI chatbot, Xiaoice, tailored to be controlled and censored by the CCP. Despite these agreements reportedly expiring years ago, they highlight the extent to which American technology firms, like Microsoft, have engaged with entities closely linked to a government known for its strict media control and propaganda dissemination.
Experts have criticized these deals, noting their potential role in aiding the CCP’s global propaganda efforts. Geoffrey Cain, policy director at the Tech Integrity Project, expressed concern over Microsoft’s role in spreading content that undermines democratic values. “These are major propaganda outlets that publish outright falsehoods attacking the ideas of democracy, attacking the very concepts that undergird our society, and yet an American company is working to spread this,” said Cain. “The purpose of all this is to show the Chinese Communist Party that it’s firmly on the side of China and the Chinese system,” he added.
The State Department has previously designated these outlets as being effectively controlled by the Chinese government, further highlighting the major issues with Microsoft’s partnerships. The revelations also shed light on Microsoft’s broader strategy in China, a market where the company has significantly expanded its presence over the last two decades.
With about 9,000 employees in China and plans for further expansion, Microsoft’s deepening ties with Chinese entities, including its cooperation in the “Great Wall Project” with China’s Ministry of Education, imply that Microsoft may be willing to continue its coordination with organizations marked as propaganda arms of the CCP by the State Department.
Read more the Washington Free Beacon here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship.