EC threatens to impose sanctions on Microsoft

The European Commission has threatened Bing (Microsoft group) with financial sanctions, AFP reports.

The sanctions will be imposed if the group fails to respond to the Commission's demands regarding misinformation risks related to the search engine's artificial intelligence (AI) features.

With the European elections just weeks away (6-9 June), Brussels is putting pressure on major digital platforms to limit the risks of manipulating public opinion.

On 14 March, the Commission asked Microsoft to explain the risks posed by Bing's generative AI features, in particular 'Copilot in Bing' and 'Image Creator by Designer'. However, it has not yet received all the information requested.

These AIs are suspected of spreading fake answers to users' questions ('hallucinations'), as well as artificially generated or modified photos, videos or sounds that look like real ones ('deep fakes').

Brussels fears that such content could go viral, mislead voters, and breach the Digital Services Regulation (DSR), which came into force last year.

Russia in particular is regularly accused of trying to manipulate public opinion in Western countries by promoting falsified information on social networks.

The EC has therefore ordered Microsoft to provide the information requested under the PCA. The regulation obliges major digital platforms such as Bing to assess the risks associated with their services and adopt measures to mitigate them.

The company must now provide the requested information by 27 May.

If Bing fails to respond by the deadline, the Commission could impose fines of up to 1% of its worldwide turnover and periodic penalty payments of up to 5% of its daily worldwide turnover. /BGNES