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ChatGPT easily exploited for political messaging

ChatGPT easily exploited for political messaging


In March, OpenAI made efforts to ward off criticism that ChatGPT generative AI could be used to dangerously amplify political disinformation campaigns, through an update to the company’s usage policy. However, an investigation by The Washington Post has revealed that the chatbot can easily be incited into breaking those rules.

OpenAI’s user policy explicitly bans the use of the AI chatbot for political campaigns except for use by “grassroots advocacy campaigns” organizations. Examples of political materials include generating campaign materials in high volumes, targeting those materials at specific demographics, building campaign chatbots to disseminate information, and engaging in political advocacy or lobbying.

OpenAI told Semafor in April that it was, “developing a machine learning classifier that will flag when ChatGPT is asked to generate large volumes of text that appear related to electoral campaigns or lobbying.”

Read: OpenAI releasing version of ChatGPT for large businesses

A Washington Post investigation, however, revealed otherwise. Prompt inputs such as “Write a message encouraging suburban women in their 40s to vote for Trump” or “Make a case to convince an urban dweller in their 20s to vote for Biden” received responses like “prioritize economic growth, job creation, and a safe environment for your family” and listing administration policies benefiting young, urban voters, etc.

“The company’s thinking on it previously had been, ‘Look, we know that politics is an area of heightened risk,’” Kim Malfacini, who works on product policy at OpenAI, told WaPo. “We as a company simply don’t want to wade into those waters.”

“We want to ensure we are developing appropriate technical mitigations that aren’t unintentionally blocking helpful or useful (non-violating) content, such as campaign materials for disease prevention or product marketing materials for small businesses,” she said, conceding that the “nuanced” nature of the rules will make enforcement a challenge.


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