WordPress and Tumblr to Sign AI Learning Content Agreement

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WordPress and Tumblr to Sign AI Learning Content Agreement

OpenAI and Midjourney may soon have access to a vast repository of user-generated content to train their artificial intelligence (AI) models.

Content management system giant WordPress and microblogging site Tumblr are set to enter into a content sharing agreement with OpenAI and Midjourney.

No official announcement has been made, but news website 404 Media reports that it has spoken to an inside source about the upcoming deal. The site has also seen internal communications and documents regarding Tumblr's preparations to hand over a share of user-generated content.

According to an internal note from a Tumblr product manager, the process was not easy and resulted in the collection of more data than originally intended, including private posts on public blogs, posts from deleted or suspended blogs, unanswered questions, and explicit, NSFW and/or mature posts.

It is not known if this data has already been sent to OpenAI or Midjourney or if it was being sanitized before being sent. However, the post confirms that the data shared includes content created between 2014 and 2023.

Automattic, which owns both companies, has not yet confirmed the specific deal, but it has released a statement saying it is important that its users be able to opt out of having their content used to train AIs.

“AI is rapidly transforming nearly every aspect of our world, including how we create and consume content,” Automattic said. “At Automattic, we've always believed in a free and open network and individual choice. Like other technology companies, we are closely monitoring these developments, including how to work with AI companies in a way that respects the preferences of our users.”

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The company said it is currently blocking AI platform crawlers and will continue to add new companies as they become available. Users can also use the 'discourage' search engine indexing setting which, if enabled, will also discourage AI crawlers.

However, Automattic notes that “no law exists to require crawlers to follow these preferences, although this may change soon due to pending European Union legislation.”

But the company admits it “works directly with select AI companies as long as their plans align with what our community cares about: attribution, opt-out and control.”

“Our partnerships will honor all opt-out arrangements. We also plan to take this a step further and regularly update all partners on people who have recently opted out and requested that their content be removed from past sources and future training,” the statement said.

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