Updated May 31st, 2024 at 21:50 IST

STOIC - The Israeli Firm At The Center Of Controversy To Influence Indian Elections

An Israeli firm STOIC that sought to use AI models to influence India's Lok Sabha elections by peddling an anti-BJP agenda.

Reported by: Abhishek Tiwari
OpenAI claims, Israeli firm STOIC attempted to influence Indian elections by circulating anti-BJP agenda | Image:AP/ Representational
Advertisement

New Delhi: As India is all set to vote in the last leg of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections on June 1 and eagerly waiting for the results on June 4, an explosive revelation, the US-based AI firm OpenAI, the creators of chatGPT, on Friday claimed that it had disrupted covert operations by an Israeli firm STOIC that sought to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) models to influence the Indian General elections. The company aimed to influence the Lok Sabha elections of India by purportedly peddling an anti-BJP agenda in favour of the Congress Party. A threat intel report by OpenAI claims that a for-hire Israeli firm “began generating comments that focused on India, following an agenda of criticising the ruling BJP party and praising the opposition Congress party”.

The report titled 'AI and Covert Influence Operations: Latest Trends' by OpenAI mentioned, “While we observed these threat actors using our models for a range of IO, they all attempted to deceive people about who they were or what they were trying to achieve.”

Advertisement

The report further claims that a cluster of accounts, operated from Israel, were used to generate and edit content for the covert operations targeting audiences in India with contents written in English-language to manipulate Indians with a motive to influence electoral results. Following the creation of the contents, they were shared on various social media platforms including X, Facebook, Instagram, websites, and YouTube.

Notably, OpenAI is an artificial intelligence research organisation founded in December 2015.

Advertisement

All About Israeli Firm ‘STOIC’

As the Congress appeared to have triggered another political controversy after the release of the report, here’s all about the Israeli company STOIC, which is at the centre of all the controversy.

Advertisement

The Israeli firm, STOIC, is a political campaign management firm. An OpenAI investigation has revealed that STOIC attempted to interfere in the recent Lok Sabha elections in India by peddling an anti-BJP agenda. This covert influence operation, dubbed "Zero Zeno", was part of a larger effort by the firm to manipulate public opinion across various regions, including Canada, the United States, Israel and Ghana.

The OpenAI report maintained that the nefarious activity centered around the Indian elections to manipulate public opinion to influence political outcomes, was flagged in May, which was being operated by a political campaign management firm in Israel, STOIC.

Advertisement

In its report OpenAI said, "We banned a cluster of accounts operated from Israel that were being used to generate and edit content for an influence operation that spanned X, Facebook, Instagram, websites, and YouTube."

“While we observed these threat actors using our models for a range of IO, they all attempted to deceive people about who they were or what they were trying to achieve,” the report mentions.

Advertisement

Reacting to the report, Union Minister of Electronics and Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said, "It is absolutely clear and obvious that BJP was and is the target of influence operations, misinformation and foreign interference, being done by and/or on behalf of some Indian political parties."

Advertisement

He called it a "dangerous threat" to the country's democracy.
 

Advertisement

Published May 31st, 2024 at 21:50 IST