WordPress and Tumblr to sell user content to AI companies like OpenAI and MidJourney

Wordpress and Tumblr to sell user content to AI companies

If there's one thing almost everyone knows about AI tools, it's that they require large amounts of data to train. And this data, as of now, comes from the Internet, something that is already being debated. AI tools like ChatGPT have already been accused by many of using data from authors, artists and publications without their consent. And now, it turns out, some companies want to sell their user data to these AI companies.

According to a Gizmodo report originally attributed to 404 Media, Automattic, the parent company of platforms like WordPress and Tumblr, is in discussions to sell content from its sites to AI companies like MidJourney and OpenAI. for training purposes.

While the specific details of the arrangement remain unclear, Automattic is stressing to users that they will have the option at any time to opt out of their data being used to train the AI.

According to the 404 report, there is an internal disagreement at Automattic, with concerns over the inclusion of private content that was inadvertently deleted for AI training, contrary to the company's intended practices. Complicating matters, promotional content not owned by Automattic, including material from a previous Apple Music campaign, reportedly appeared in the training database.

On top of that, the report adds that after the incident, a product manager at the company even started removing his photos from Tumblr to make sure they weren't being used to train the AI.

As for the company's promise to let users opt out of having their data shared, Automattic is set to unveil a new feature to do so, according to a report.

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In a blog post, the company noted how this new feature will “give users more control” over their content.

“We're doing a number of things at WordPress.com and Tumblr to give you more control over the content you create,” the blog post says, as it talks about rolling out a setting to “discourage crawling by AI companies.”

The company says in a post. “We currently block major AI platform crawlers by default, including those from the biggest tech companies, and update our lists when new ones are launched.”

Talking about how it prevents “search engines from indexing websites on WordPress and Tumblr,” the post adds: engines to not crawl that content or include it in search results.”

AI companies may also be restricted from using user content for training purposes. The post adds: “We've added similar settings to WordPress.com and Tumblr to avoid crawling by AI companies. If you already encourage search engine indexing, this is automatically enabled. We will only share public content hosted on WordPress.com and Tumblr. from sites that have not opted out.”

The company also noted in the post that it actively collaborates with specific AI organizations to ensure alignment with community priorities such as attribution, shutdowns, and user controls. All partnerships will maintain opt-out preferences, the company said, and additional efforts are planned to provide regular updates to partners about individuals who opt out. The company also said it aims to make it easier to remove content from past sources and retool it in the future, as requested by users.

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Published by

Divyanshi Sharma

Published:

February 28, 2024

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