Binance says ChatGPT was weaponized to falsely claim it has Communist ties

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Crypto exchange Binance claims someone is feeding false information to OpenAI’s ChatGPT in order to discredit the firm’s standing with US lawmakers, Forbes reported on Monday.

A spokesperson for the crypto behemoth told the outlet that several Congressional offices reached out to the firm, asking if Binance chief Changpeng Zhao (CZ) developed a social media platform for the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), which is majority-owned by the Chinese state.

The firm further claims that it received numerous questions to determine if CZ was an official in the Chinese Communist party.

When Binance looked into the issue, ChatGPT didn’t say that CZ was a communist — but according to chief strategy officer Patrick Hillman, the AI bot did suggest the co-founder worked with CNPC and offered up ‘sources.’ Apparently, it relied on a fake LinkedIn page impersonating CZ, as well as a Forbes article from 2018 that has been removed.

According to Fortune, the story’s URL didn’t work. However, it suggests the piece was written by former Forbes senior editor Pamela Ambler. According to Ambler’s LinkedIn page, the former journalist has worked at Channel NewsAsia, Reuters, and Bloomberg, before recently switching to an executive position in real estate.

Binance has long denied that the firm is Chinese. However, CZ grew up in China, returned as an adult after living in Canada, and built a career in tech there. Binance didn’t delist all Chinese Yuan-based trading pairs until 2021 — and the early white paper of Binance Coin (BNB) was released exclusively in English and Chinese.

Read more: Chinese users appear to bypass Binance KYC thanks to help from Binance

To verify Binance’s claims, Protos asked ChatGPT if CZ did indeed develop a social media platform for the CNPC or had any relationship with the state-owned gas giant — it denied both.

We asked if Binance US had employees in China. According to Bloomberg, the firm’s American arm has around 100 contract workers in Shanghai. Most are in engineering and product roles, according to two anonymous sources familiar with the matter. However, the AI bot said Binance US doesn’t hire anyone in China.

When we inquired if CZ was a communist, it replied that it had no way of knowing someone’s personal beliefs due to the fact that it was an AI model. Then the bot continued:

“However, Changpeng Zhao was born in China, a country that is governed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). It is possible that he has had some exposure to Communist ideology or may hold certain beliefs that are aligned with Communist principles, but without specific information or statements from him it is difficult to say for sure.”

Binance’s recently launched AI chatbot Binance Sensei — powered by ChatGPT — was fed all of the same questions. It simply told us to ask CZ himself.

  • The impact of ChatGPT’s potential for spreading misinformation is still unknown and in its early stages.
  • As Fortune pointed out, experts are deeply concerned with the ease at which AI can churn out false news to serve a political agenda.
  • In cryptocurrency, some warn of AI’s potential to aid hackers — particularly posing a threat to blockchains and protocols with limited security testing, such as decentralized finance protocols.

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