“Deepfakes for $24 a month: how AI is disrupting Bangladesh’s election”

Financial Times:

Policymakers around the world are worrying over how AI-generated disinformation can be harnessed to try to mislead voters and inflame divisions ahead of several big elections next year.

In one country it is already happening: Bangladesh.

The South Asian nation of 170mn people is heading to the polls in early January, a contest marked by a bitter and polarising power struggle between incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her rivals, the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist party.

Pro-government news outlets and influencers in Bangladesh have in recent months promoted AI-generated disinformation created with cheap tools offered by artificial intelligence start-ups.

In one purported news clip, an AI-generated anchor lambasts the US, a country that Sheikh Hasina’s government has criticised ahead of the polls. A separate deepfake video, which has since been removed, showed an opposition leader equivocating over support for Gazans, a potentially ruinous position in the Muslim-majority country with strong public sympathy for Palestinians.

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