The search engine, owned by Microsoft, has an AI feature that promotes the transnational neo-Nazi network.
The Global Project Against Hate and Extremism (GPAHE) has discovered that the search engine Bing, owned by Microsoft, promotes the neo-Nazi network known as Active Clubs through its Artificial Intelligence (AI) program.
After searching for “active clubs” on Bing, the search engine draws the user directly to Rundo’s propaganda outlet, Media2Rise. (Source: Bing)
When searching for “Active Clubs” on Bing, the search engine immediately refers the user to Rundo’s propaganda company Media2Rise’s definition of the term. The company has promoted fascist MMA tournaments featuring the SoCal Active Club, Patriot Front, Proud Boys, and White Lives Matter. Contrary to Rundo’s stated goal of using the network to facilitate “the revolutionary war,” Bing promotes content that highlights Rundo’s harmful messaging and tells the user that Active Clubs are simply a “club of activists united in shared beliefs.”
Active Clubs are a transnational white supremacist network conceptualized by American neo-Nazi Robert Rundo and Russian neo-Nazi Denis Kasputin to become a “leaderless resistance…like the minutemen in the early stages of the revolutionary war.” Active Clubs have already mobilized, protesting the Anti-Defamation League and numerous LGBTQ+ events, spreading conspiratorial antisemitic propaganda, and in early October 2023, having members with a history of violence show up at a mayoral candidates forum in Franklin, Tenn., a major suburb of Nashville. An event in Germany organized by an Active Club was banned in 2019 for its extremist connections and potential for violence. Rundo himself was recently arrested in Bucharest, Romania, and has been extradited to the United States to face a charge of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Riot Act based on his previous activities in his Rise Above Movement (RAM), including his attempts to incite political riots in Southern California and the 2017 hate rallies in Charlottesville. GPAHE recently documented 149 Active Clubs and similar far-right fighting groups across 21 countries, including 49 in the United States alone.
Bing uses AI to provide “additional searches that might be useful” when searching for something specific. However, suggested search terms lead the user to “active club clothing,” which Rundo’s merchandise brand, Will2Rise, sells. Immediately under the Media2Rise snippet are some prompts generated by Bing Chat, which Bing states to be a “conversation-based AI search tool offering comprehensive results for your complex questions and commands.” The prompts provided are worrying, as they promote Active Clubs to the user by suggesting they ask “How do I start one?” and “What are the benefits of joining?”
The issues with Bing’s search results go beyond AI. In 2020, we reported on Google’s Knowledge Graph and how it provides links to extremists’ social media accounts or their organizations. Similarly, Bing’s AI is prominently exposing readers to Rundo’s harmful propaganda without context or a meaningful counternarrative. It does, like Google, draw information copied from other sources. For example, when using Bing’s “how do I start one?” prompt in relation to Active Clubs, the engine cites the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) page in its answer – without including any information about Active Clubs’ connections to neo-Nazism or real-world violence. Bing is attempting to consolidate sources on its own platform, effectively minimizing access to more detailed documentation on Active Clubs. This keeps users on the engine, benefiting Bing and its advertisers, since data shows users are less likely to click sites closer to the bottom of search results pages.
“Bing Chat” uses the Media2Rise page as a basis for questions related to the Active Club movement. The response to “how do I start one?” draws from the ADL’s page on Active Clubs but fails to denounce the neo-Nazi network. (Source: Bing)
The AI industry has already rightly come under fire for not adequately addressing the perpetuation of disinformation campaigns and its use by violent extremists for recruitment and radicalization. AI chat models such as ChatGPT are currently being used to disseminate conspiratorial and violent narratives in video games. The failure of Bing, or any platform, to address the current gaps in their AI models that lead to promoting harmful or disinformation makes them complicit in the continued, and rapid, growth of Active Clubs and other hate groups.