Microsoft AI Image Generator Erases Israel From Map of ‘Palestine’

"Map of Palestine" generated by Microsoft Copilot
March 8, 2024

Microsoft’s artificial intelligence image generator erases Israel from the map when asked to create a geographical image of "Palestine," according to a review of the program by the Washington Free Beacon.

When the Free Beacon prompted Microsoft’s Copilot to create a "map of Palestine," all four of the images generated by the program showed the entire state of Israel labeled as "Palestine," alongside the Palestinian flag.

But when asked to create a "map of Israel," the program showed the current map of Israel, including its borders with the West Bank.

The results could raise new questions about the politicization of artificial intelligence platforms. On Wednesday, CNBC reported on violent and controversial images generated by the platform, including an image of Elsa, the character from the Disney movie Frozen, holding a "Free Gaza" sign.

The Free Beacon was able to reproduce similar pictures with the program. When asked to create images of "Elsa in Palestine," the generator depicted her wearing a keffiyeh, a headscarf associated with Palestinian terrorists. A prompt of "Elsa in Israel," meanwhile, generates an image of Elsa holding a menorah.

A request for a picture of "Children in Palestine" produced politically charged images of Palestinian youth playing soccer while surrounded by razor wire-topped walls and murals of soldiers attacking a Palestinian child.

In contrast, a request for "Children in Israel" only generated images of children on a playground without any references to violence or war.

Similarly, prompts for "Palestinian civilians" and "Palestinian people" turned up images of Palestinian protesters holding signs for "Freedom, Justice, and Equality for Paleestine [sic]," and Palestinian families sitting in rubble from bombed out buildings.

In contrast, "Israeli civilians" and "Israeli people" showed pictures of Israeli families eating dinner and enjoying picnics.

When asked to generate an "Israel octopus," all three images created by the program were of sea creatures covered in the Israeli flag while wrapping their tentacles around the globe—classic anti-Semitic imagery.

A request for "Palestine octopus" generated one image of an octopus with "Palestine" written on its head while clutching weapons. A second image showed an octopus with a Jewish Star of David on its head, while similarly holding weapons and Palestinian flags.

A spokesman for Microsoft told the Free Beacon that the company was working to address the issues.

"When these reports surface, we take the appropriate steps to address them. We continue to incorporate user feedback and put additional controls in place to help our system detect and stop prompts that could lead to the creation of harmful content," said the spokesman. "We have large teams working on the development of guardrails and other safety systems in line with our responsible AI principles to help create a safer environment, and remain committed to making it a positive and helpful experience for users."