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Fake Biden Phone Call Meant to Keep Voters Home

An altered audio of President Biden, most likely AI-generated, hits voters in run-up to New Hampshire presidential primary.

Ben Wodecki

January 24, 2024

2 Min Read
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At a Glance

  • A fake audio of President Biden was sent to voters, telling them to stay home in the New Hampshire primary.
  • The New Hampshire Attorney General's office is investigating what is most likely an AI-generated deepfake.

Do not go out and vote – that essentially was the message from a voice-cloned version of President Joe Biden in phone calls to voters in this week’s New Hampshire presidential primary.

“Save your vote for the November election,” the fake Biden told voters, even using one of his signature phrases such as, “What a bunch of malarkey.”

Voting in a presidential primary does not bar a voter from voting in the General Election.

The message concluded with a phone number to Kathy Sullivan, former chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office quickly moved to debunk the message, saying in a statement that the calls “appear to be artificially generated.”

“These messages appear to be an unlawful attempt to disrupt the New Hampshire Presidential Primary Election and to suppress New Hampshire voters,” the office said.

Biden still won even though he was not listed in the primary. Voters wrote in his name on the ballot.

More to come?

While the state’s attorney general works to trace the call’s origins, it marks the latest incident of generative AI misuse in the run-up to the 2024 election.

Phone numbers of voters can be purchased from data brokers, meaning bad actors with some financial backing could easily pick up personal data for spoofing cases like this.

Related:WEF: AI-fueled Misinformation is Chief Global Risk

New Hampshire Secretary of State, David Scanlan, told NBC that this instance “reinforces a national concern.”

“This is a new area in elections, we are going to have to study it and figure it out. But there needs to be a quick response to misinformation and disinformation that's out there.”

Scanlan said voters also have to take some responsibility, saying they should not believe everything they see.

Thousands of AI-generated deepfakes of President Biden and election rival Donald Trump are littered on YouTube as the tech to create deepfakes has become widely available.

The World Economic Forum recently identified misinformation and disinformation as top short-term global risk, with AI one of the leading catalysts.

Last year, an audio deepfake between Progressive Slovakia leader Michal Simecka and a journalist was circulated during Slovakia’s parliamentary elections. They discussed buying votes, among other topics. Simecka has denounced it as “obvious stupidity” and “lies.”

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Jr. Editor

Ben Wodecki is the Jr. Editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to Jr. Editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others. He holds an MSc in Digital Journalism from Middlesex University.

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