AI-generated articles prompted Wikipedia to downgrade CNET’s trustworthiness rating

Wikipedia has downgraded tech website CNET’s trustworthiness rating after a wide-ranging debate among its editors about the impact of AI-generated content on the site’s credibility, as detailed in a detailed report by Futurism. Is. The decision reflects concerns over the reliability of articles found on the tech news outlet after it begins publishing AI-generated stories in 2022.

Around November 2022, CNET began publishing articles written by an AI model under “CNET Mini Staff”. In January 2023, Futurism drew widespread attention to the issue and discovered that the articles were full of plagiarism and errors. (Around this time, we covered plans to do a similar automated publication at BuzzFeed.) After the revelation, CNET management halted the experiment, but the reputation had been damaged.

Wikipedia maintains a page called “Reliable Sources/Perennial Sources” which includes a chart showing news publications and their credibility rating from Wikipedia’s perspective. Shortly after CNET’s news broke in January 2023, Wikipedia editors started a discussion thread on the Reliable Sources Project page about the publication.

“CNET, which is generally considered a typical tech rs. [reliable source]has started running experimental AI-generated articles, which are riddled with errors,” wrote a Wikipedia editor named David Gerard. I haven’t found any yet, but none of the articles he posted on Wikipedia. Makes the article need to be removed.”

After other editors agreed in the debate, they began the process of lowering CNET’s reliability rating.

As of this writing, Wikipedia’s perennial source list currently has three entries for CNET divided into three time periods: (1) prior to October 2020, when Wikipedia considered CNET a “generally reliable” source; was (2) Between October 2020 and the present, when Wikipedia notes that the site was acquired by Red Ventures in October 2020, “leading to a deterioration in editorial standards” and states that any consensus about reliability do not have. and (3) between November 2022 and January 2023, when Wikipedia deemed CNET “generally unreliable” because the site began using an AI tool to “rapidly identify articles riddled with factual errors and affiliate links.” can be produced from”.

to enlarge / A screenshot of a chart containing CNET’s reliability ratings, as found on Wikipedia’s “Reliable Sources” page.

Futurism reports that CNET’s AI-generated content issue also sparked a wider debate within the Wikipedia community about the reliability of sources owned by Red Ventures, such as Bankrate and CreditCards.com. These sites published AI-generated content during the same period as CNET. Editors also criticized Red Ventures for where and how AI is being implemented, further eroding trust in the company’s publications. This lack of transparency was a key factor in CNET’s decision to downgrade its trustworthiness rating.

In response to controversy surrounding the reduction and AI-generated content, CNET released a statement claiming the site maintains high editorial standards.

“CNET is the world’s largest provider of unbiased tech-focused news and advice,” a CNET spokesperson said in a statement to Futurism. “We’ve been trusted for nearly 30 years because of our rigorous editorial and product review standards. It’s important to clarify that CNET is not actively using AI to create new content. When That we have no specific plans to restart, but any future initiatives will follow suit. Our public AI policy.”

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