Google News searches have revealed AI-generated articles that shamelessly plagiarize legitimate media outlets, with The Post identifying at least one ripoff of its own published work. When testing Google News, The Post’s exclusive Jan. 8 story about Federal Trade Commission nominee Melissa Holyoak was listed lower in search results than a nearly identical ripoff from a site named “Business News” with the domain “biz.crast.net.” The fake article even included references to “The Post” in its regurgitated copy. While Google confirmed the article “violates our policy and will be removed,” it noted that AI-generated content itself is not against its policies.
Independent outlet 404 Media exposed the issue, highlighting screenshots of AI-generated ripoffs appearing alongside real articles in Google News search results. This includes ripoffs of posts from Distractify and Heavy.com, raising concerns about the impact on the media industry. Danielle Coffey, CEO of the News/Media Alliance, emphasized that the spread of AI-generated articles is a “real problem” as it disrupts the industry’s revenue model and compromises quality content. Experts, including those who testified before a Senate panel, emphasized the potential dangers AI poses to journalism’s future.
AI-generated news content proliferating alongside genuine articles on Google, which controls 90% of the online search market, is a significant concern. Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next, noted that when gatekeeper power is left unchecked, AI can become a risk accelerant. Media outlets have already expressed outrage over the use of AI-powered chatbots, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, lifting copyrighted work without proper credit or compensation. Google’s search liaison Danny Sullivan questioned 404 Media’s methodology, and a Google spokesperson emphasized the platform’s commitment to removing sites that violate content policies.
The presence of AI-generated content on Google News reveals challenges in the platform’s ranking system and moderation efforts, especially in the age of consumer-access AI. 404 Media pointed out that Google News’ rankings appear to be an opaque and gameable system, highlighting concerns about the quality and originality of content. Google defended its search results, stating that the cited sites only appeared for artificially narrow queries and emphasizing its commitment to removing content created primarily for ranking purposes. The debate underscores the complexities and risks associated with AI’s integration into news platforms.
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