ChatGPT user arrested in China after creating fake news story

Joel Loynds
man arrested, with chinese flag and chatgpt logo

A man in Gansu, China, has been arrested and detained after utilizing ChatGPT to create a fake news story about a train crash.

Chinese police have taken action and detained a man in Gansu after he used ChatGPT to create a fake news story about a train crash. The story was originally posted across social media in the country on April 25 but was found to be false information.

The now-detained individual, Hong, posted the story across more than 20 accounts on the blog platform, Baijiahao. It’s run by Baidu, who also runs a ChatGPT competitor, Ernie Bot. Allegedly, more than 15,000 people clicked on the story.

China has strict regulations on AI-created content, particularly videos, and photos. If these are to be posted, there must be some indication that it’s AI-generated. This is the first arrest surrounding AI-generated content, setting a precedent for the country in the future.

Fake news is also covered by legislation introduced in 2013, which was an amendment of another law preventing netizens from “provoking trouble”. If Hong is charged with this, he could face up to ten years in prison.

Police had tracked Hong down after ten days of searching, and found that he’d used ChatGPT to create the story. On top of this, he had also circumvented rules placed on the blogging platform to prevent simultaneous posts.

Chinese regulations on AI & ChatGPT

Blue abstract image of a neural network

Chinese AI rules are a little stricter than the rest of the world, as Beijing police warned users in February about ChatGPT and the content it can create.

It hasn’t put a stop to the ongoing development of the services though. After Ernie Bot was ridiculed by the public, another company, iFlytek, announced its own competitor. SparkDesk intends to best ChatGPT over the coming months in Chinese, and reach the same standards in English as well.

ChatGPT continues to prove incredibly popular, but has been banned outright in Italy over privacy concerns. Tech alumni have stated their own concerns as well, and Nvidia has begun to release its own guardrails for developers as Microsoft, Google, and more battle for AI supremacy.

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E-Commerce Editor. You can get in touch with him over email: He's written extensively about video games and tech for over a decade for various sites. Previously seen on Scan, WePC, PCGuide, Eurogamer, Digital Foundry and A deep love for old tech, bad games and even jankier MTG decks.