Customers outside a Microsoft store (file image)
Claims the tech giant will disable the computers of people spreading misinformation are fiction. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS

Microsoft myth traced back to ‘fake news’ website

William Summers March 4, 2024

Microsoft says it will disable computers of people who spread misinformation online.


False. No such announcement has been made by the company.

A prominent misinformation website claims Microsoft has announced plans to disable the computers of people who spread misinformation online.

This is false. The website’s article provides no evidence the tech giant has said anything of the sort. Microsoft also told AAP FactCheck the claim is false.

The claim was made in a February 3 article published on a disinformation site called The People’s Voice.

The website is operated by Sean Adl-Tabatabai, a former MTV producer turned serial misinformation spreader who regularly churns out deceptive clickbait stories.

A screenshot of one of the Facebook posts.
 Social media users are spreading disinformation without any evidence. 

The article was headlined: “Microsoft To Disable Computers of Users Who Share ‘Non-Mainstream Content’ Online”.

“Microsoft has announced plans to disable the computers of people who share ‘non-mainstream’ content online, in an attempt to combat so-called ‘misinformation’ in the run-up to the 2024 election,” the first sentence reads.

However, the rest of the article refers to an NBC News interview with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in January 2024. It makes no further mention of computers being shut down.

Neither the article nor the links within it include any evidence to back up the claim Microsoft had made an announcement about disabling computers.

Despite lacking any evidence for its central claim, the article has been widely shared on Facebook, X, Reddit and other social media platforms.

A man uses a desktop computer (file image)
 People can spread misinformation without fears Microsoft will kibosh their computer. 

The NBC News interview with Mr Nadella is also available on YouTube here.

In the interview, the Microsoft boss talks about the risks and opportunities of Artificial Intelligence (AI), but does not mention anything resembling the claim.

When asked about putting a stop to online misinformation relating to the 2024 US presidential election, Mr Nadella said his company was investing in technological verification tools.

“We are doing all the work across the tech industry around watermarking, detecting deep fakes and content IDs. There is going to be enough and more technology, quite frankly, in order to be able to identify the issues around disinformation and misinformation,” he said (video mark 1min 08sec).

“Then the question again comes back to, how do we build consensus between parties, candidates and the norms around what is acceptable, not acceptable?”

At no point does Mr Nadella say anything about disabling computers.

AAP FactCheck found no credible evidence to indicate Mr Nadella or anyone at Microsoft had announced plans to disable the computers of people who share misinformation.

Customers in a Microsoft store in Sydney (file image)
 There is no evidence Microsoft plans to disable anyone’s computer. 

AAP FactCheck could not find any information on Microsoft’s website about the supposed announcement.

A Microsoft spokeswoman told AAP FactCheck the claim was false.

“No, there are no plans to disable any computers for users as described in these claims,” she said.

Other fact-checking organisations have also debunked the same claim – here, here and here.

Mr Adl-Tabatabai previously ran a disinformation website called YourNewsWire, described in a 2019 Mashable article (archived here) as “one of the most well-known purveyors of fake news online”.

YourNewsWire was rebranded as NewsPunch, which then turned into The People’s Voice.

AAP FactCheck has previously debunked Mr Adl-Tabatabai’s claims the World Economic Forum was trying to cancel Christmas and one billion had people died since the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

The Verdict

The claim Microsoft has announced it will disable the computers of people who spread misinformation online is false.

The claim originates from an article on a fake news website. The article includes no evidence of the supposed announcement.

Microsoft told AAP FactCheck the claim is false and the company has no plans to disable computers.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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