Microsoft Copilot
Microsoft Copilot accused of generating false statements about Alexei Navalny's death. Wikimedia Commons

It looks like Microsoft is exerting every effort in a bid to prevent its AI assistant Copilot from generating false comments attributed to President Vladimir Putin regarding political prisoner Alexei Navalny's demise.

The Redmond-based tech giant is currently conducting an investigation into fabricated press statements about the death of Navalny, generated by its AI Copilot and inaccurately linked to Putin.

A journalist at Sherwood Media, using Microsoft's Copilot, encountered an issue when the text generation tool generated fabricated statements for a news article about Alexei Navalny's death. These statements were attributed to US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Copilot reportedly made up statements, claiming Biden blamed Putin for Navalny's death, but Putin called the accusations "baseless and politically motivated". While Navalny's mother recently accused Russia of blackmailing her into burying her son's body in a secret ceremony, Putin is still mum on Navalny's death.

The body of the late Russian opposition leader has been finally handed to his mother, more than a week after he died in an Arctic prison colony. "Alexei's body was handed over to his mother. Many thanks to all those who demanded this with us," Navalny spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

In the meantime, Microsoft is looking into fabricated press statements regarding the passing of the political detainee, which were generated by its AI Copilot and wrongly linked to the Russian President. "We have investigated this report and are making changes to refine the quality of our responses," a Microsoft spokesperson told Sherwood Media.

"As we continue to improve the experience, we encourage people to use their best judgment when viewing results, including verifying source materials and checking web links to learn more," the spokesperson added.

Alexei Navalny was about to be freed

Navalny, who was serving a 19-year sentence for extremism-related charges, died on February 16. The 47-year-old de facto opposition leader was also serving an 11-and-a-half-year sentence for fraud. The aftermath of his death included protests within Russia and people celebrating his legacy globally through events honouring his life and work.

Navalny's colleague Maria Pevchikh claims Navalny was about to be freed in a prisoner swap when he died. According to Pevchikh, Navalny was going to be exchanged for Russian hitman Vadim Krasikov, who was serving a life sentence for murder in Germany.

This incident is not isolated. To recap, Russian blogger, Andrey Morozov tragically died by suicide after disclosing that Russia has suffered major losses including 16,000 personnel and 300 pieces of armour during its assault on the Ukrainian city of Avdiivka.