Microsoft would not flag phoney news as untrue in an effort to quell criticism of “Censorship.”

Microsoft’s policy team will inform international governments of its research on propaganda in an effort to persuade them to adopt a set of guidelines for nation-state behavior online.

Microsoft Corp. President Brad Smith hinted that the company is taking a different approach than other technology companies in dealing with disinformation in an interview with Bloomberg News by saying that the company won’t label social media posts that appear to be false in order to avoid the perception that the company is attempting to censor speech online.

In response to a question regarding Microsoft’s involvement in defining disinformation, Smith stated, “I don’t think that people want governments to tell them what is true or false. Additionally, I don’t believe they are particularly interested in hearing from tech companies.

The remarks are Smith’s clearest evidence to date that Microsoft is following a novel strategy to monitor and thwart attempts at digital propaganda.

Facebook and Twitter Inc., both owned by Meta Platforms Inc., have come under fire for their efforts to flag and take down false or misleading material from their websites and applications. Since US lawmakers claim that social media corporations limit right-wing voices, the issue of truth has become politicized. In contrast, the US Department of Homeland Security shut down its own disinformation office earlier this year in response to public outcry.

Recent investments in information operation analysts and tools to monitor disinformation campaigns have been made by Microsoft, the company that runs the Bing search engine and LinkedIn social network. These experts are collaborating with Microsoft’s cybersecurity teams, who have assisted the business in thwarting alleged Russian, Iranian, Chinese, and North Korean state hackers by destroying the infrastructure required to maintain the active state of the malicious software.

Tom Burt, corporate vice president for customer security and trust, stated, “We’ll be looking into how we might accomplish it in the context of influence operations.”

Microsoft is currently concentrating on detecting disinformation campaigns that are publicized and that target their private and public sector clients. Although specifics of the strategy are still being worked out, Smith indicated that its main objective is to be “open.”

Microsoft’s policy team will share its propaganda-related findings with international governments, much like it already does with its cybersecurity incident reports, in an effort to persuade leaders to adopt a set of guidelines for nation-state behavior online.

People are more likely to take action and engage in conversation about the steps that international governments should take to solve these concerns if they are informed about what is happening, according to Burt.

Microsoft released a report this year on Russian cyber espionage targeting Ukrainian targets, stating that the intrusions were carried out in conjunction with military actions and disinformation campaigns. In one instance, it was claimed that hackers stole information from organizations in the nuclear sector to help the military and state-run media spread lies about Ukraine’s alleged development of chemical and biological weapons and to support the capture of nuclear power plants by soldiers.

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