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Report: Microsoft Helped China’s Communist Party Spread its Propaganda

‘It’s kind of an angel deal with the devil scenario.’
Shanghai, China (Image by Silentpilot from Pixabay)
Shanghai, China (Image by Silentpilot from Pixabay)

Microsoft, as part of its campaign to curry favor from China, reached various partnership agreements in which it helped that nation’s Communist Party spread its propaganda, according to a new report.

It was through “collaboration deals” it signed with various Chinese propaganda mouthpieces, including China Daily and People’s Daily, that Microsoft provided technology “that lets the paper target potential readers” and provided “access to an artificial intelligence bot specially designed to be controlled and censored by the Chinese Community Party,” the report said.

A Microsoft official told the publication the agreements “expired” years ago.

“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,” Geoffrey Cain, policy director at the CCP influence-fighting Tech Integrity Project said.

The report pointed out, “Both the China Daily and the People’s Daily are widely considered propaganda tools for the Chinese Communist Party. China Daily is published by the party’s Central Propaganda Department. The State Department in 2020 determined the People’s Daily’s parent company was ‘substantially owned or effectively controlled’ by the Chinese government.”

The deals, starting with the China Daily, date back in 2016, when the publication said Microsoft would provide tech to let it “target and profile” users.

It started the “Media Smart Cloud Innovation Technology Laboratory” which a Chinese scholar later said gives “data support for research on [China’s] international communication effects.”

Microsoft at the time said it was honored to have such “a strategic cooperation” with the propaganda outlet.

China Daily routinely promotes China’s talking points and criticism of the U.S.

“Microsoft isn’t immune from these sorts of arrangements just because they’re an American company,” Jake Denton, a research associate at the Heritage Foundation’s Tech Policy Center, told the Free Beacon. “It’s kind of an angel deal with the devil scenario. Microsoft loves the idea of access to the Asia market but it comes with a catch. In this case, it’s helping the Chinese government’s propaganda campaigns.”

The report said Microsoft’s agenda was expanded when it provided its services to the People’s Daily with a similar partnership in 2018.

“Microsoft does not want to anger the Chinese Communist Party and access those 1.2 billion potential consumers,” charged Cain. “Microsoft has made huge inroads in the Chinese government over the last two decades. That takes a lot of political posturing to win over Chinese Communist Party officials.”:

In fact, the publication’s report said since the 1992, Microsoft has engaged in “dozens” of deals with various Chinese government operatives.

The report cited “virtually no evidence” the American company would back away from its extensive ties to the CCP, as Microsoft China president Joe Bao called the country the “most dynamic and innovative place in the world.”

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