AI-generated articles prompt Wikipedia to downgrade CNET’s reliability rating

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Wikipedia has downgraded tech website CNET’s reliability rating following extensive discussions among its editors regarding the impact of AI-generated content on the site’s trustworthiness, as noted in a detailed report from Futurism. The decision reflects concerns over the reliability of articles found on the tech news outlet after it began publishing AI-generated stories in 2022.

Around November 2022, CNET began publishing articles written by an AI model under the byline “CNET Money Staff.” In January 2023, Futurism brought widespread attention to the issue and discovered that the articles were full of plagiarism and mistakes. (Around that time, we covered plans to do similar automated publishing at BuzzFeed.) After the revelation, CNET management paused the experiment, but the reputational damage had already been done.

Wikipedia maintains a page called “Reliable sources/Perennial sources” that includes a chart featuring news publications and their reliability ratings as viewed from Wikipedia’s perspective. Shortly after the CNET news broke in January 2023, Wikipedia editors began a discussion thread on the Reliable Sources project page about the publication.

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