CNET Secretly Used AI on Articles That Didn’t Reveal That Fact, Team Says

CNET Secretly Used AI on Articles That Didn’t Reveal That Fact, Team Says

Last week, we reported that the high-tech news site is prominent CNET Many articles written by an AI system were being posted silently.

After a public outcry, we discovered that despite the Red Ventures-owned publication’s promise that all AI-generated articles were being diligently checked by a human editor, the AI ​​was making many basic errors. CNET responded by issuing an extensive correction, and slapping a warning label on the rest of the content – ​​also, somewhat curiously, by adding a disclaimer to many human-written articles about AI topics.

If all CNETThe AI-generated articles were marked so, you could probably write the whole thing off as a cynical, vague attempt to eliminate entry-level writers’ jobs.

But many insiders have now made a more alarming claim: that in addition to the content marked as AI-generated content, the tech site is secretly publishing AI-generated content that wasn’t labeled as bot-written at all.

“They only care about cranking out the content and they don’t care about the quality/editing as long as the content is up to par. [search engine optimization],” one former employee told us. “They use AI to rewrite the content every two weeks or so because Google likes updated content.”

AI rewrites, the former employee said, aim to manipulate Google’s search rankings — and that’s not good news for human readers looking for quality work.

“Eventually it gets so mangled that every four months a real editor has to look at it and rewrite it,” they said. msgstr “Then the process starts again.”

Taking a step back, that’s an accusation. If these claims are true, then AI-generated content has penetrated deep into the once-famous tech publishing titan – so vast CNET readers can no longer tell authoritatively whether a particular item on the site was created by a machine, a human or a combination of the two.

A CNET A spokesman did not respond to a request for comment, but in a story published today, The Corr he supported our source’s allegations in several ways. One source told the publication, for example, that it was CNET in fact he has been using AI tools for far longer than he has publicly admitted. One such AI system, the source said, has already been in use for eighteen months – although the oldest marked AI content on CNET which is only about two months old.

In general, according to The CorrAI technology has been advanced CNET and other sites owned by its parent company, Red Ventures, without meaningful internal debate — or, in many cases, even much notice at all.

“I don’t know that it was advertised in any big way,” a CNET said the team The Corr. “He just kind of showed up.”

The Corr as well as tell a story about a senior editor at CNET. On this team’s last day at the outlet, according to the site, she sent a farewell email to hundreds of colleagues. In the email, also received at Futurismthe editor blasted the company for using AI technology – and made another claim about the company’s alleged use of AI in content not marked as bot-written.

This time, she said, the materials came in the form of email newsletters. And like the articles we reviewed, she said, these newsletters contained factual errors.

“The advice was generated by scraping from previously published CNET cybersecurity and privacy coverage,” she wrote, “but after paraphrasing it with RV’s proprietary AI tool, that language was used to generate factually inaccurate information about cyber security and privacy tools, along with advice it would directly harm readers.”

The message ended with some advice: “don’t accept any rebuttal from an editor that all quality journalistic outlets engage in unethical practices,” she wrote.

“Ethical standards (and robust internal debates) are alive and well in the world’s best journalism outlets,” she continued. “I’ve had the privilege of seeing this in person at many of them, including CNET.”

The email caused such chaos in the newsroom, according to another former teacher CNET employee we spoke to, that leadership sent out a mass email of their own to address it.

Unfortunately, that former employee said, the company’s email was just the “same kind of waffling” as CNETresponse to the story that became public for the first time last week.

“The blame for where the company is right now – its massive layoffs, its complete reorganization, its subsequent push towards referral marketing and AI-based content to save or generate a buck – lies at the feet of Red Ventures, CNET‘current owner,” the former staffer told us.

The company has “squeezed as much blood from this stone as it could, and with all the bad news behind it CNETThe thing is, there doesn’t seem to be much else to give,” he said. “I’m pretty sure RV will continue to cry CNET‘s name until the negative press becomes too much, at which point he will probably either fire sell the company or shut down the entire operation. It wouldn’t surprise me either.”

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