Did AI write product reviews? Gannett says no.

Did AI write product reviews?  Gannett says no.


When several articles were published last week on Reviewed, a USA TODAY-owned website recommending products, something seemed to be amiss. No one at Reviewed recognized the bylines on the pieces.

Reviewed’s writers and editors began looking for names, but struggled to find evidence – such as LinkedIn accounts – that these people existed. The quality of the articles was also questionable. Then they began to wonder: Had artificial intelligence written these articles?

Gannett, USA TODAY’s parent company, says no AI was used. About 40 people on Reviewed say yes.

A representative of the union representing the staff members under review said in an email Friday that some of the articles in question were run through artificial intelligence detection programs, which repeatedly found that some of them were not written by humans.

One of those programs, Winston AI, found that three articles had a “zero percent human score,” indicating that they were, most likely, not written by a human, according to Organization, The second had a human score of 1 percent.

One of the articles with a zero percent human score was a recommendation for the best portable trampoline.

“Finding the best portable trampoline can be difficult,” the the review said, “Fortunately, this buying guide covers all the essential factors to consider when making a purchase. Using a trampoline regularly can help improve balance, coordination and agility.

According to Winston AI, “It is highly likely that an AI text generation tool was used.”

According to Gannett, this is not so.

Lark-Marie Anton, a company spokeswoman, said in a statement Friday that the articles in question were “created by third-party freelancers employed by a marketing agency partner.” No Aye”

Nevertheless, Ms. Anton acknowledged that the reviews were not properly labeled because they were written by a third party.

“The pages were deployed without accurate associated disclaimers and did not meet our editorial standards,” he said, adding that updates to the articles were published.

After an uproar by several workers in the review, others were removed.

When asked about the articles that the reviewed staff members had run through artificial intelligence detection programs, Ms. Anton said that the conclusion that they were not written by humans was “unfounded.”

The writers and editors of Reviewed are demanding a retraction of all related articles and an apology from the company for using a third party to do work that they could have done.

“We’ve been told in no uncertain terms that this will not happen,” Garrett Steele, Reviewed’s search engine optimization editor, said Friday.

According to a union representing reviewed staff members, the third-party company was AdVon Commerce. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday afternoon.

As artificial intelligence has become easier to use in recent years, some companies and news organizations have experimented with the technology to create content. This has led to concerns among some writers that their work could be replaced by artificial intelligence.

The reviewed association said Thursday at X Gannett “wouldn’t put profits over workers’ rights or the integrity of journalism, so we’re organizing to fight against unions and this attack on the public trust.”

“If AI increases productivity, we demand a fair share, not a threat to our jobs,” the union said. “Employees deserve to share in the benefits of new technology, not the risk of being replaced.”

The NewsGuild of New York, which represents the reviewed union, said on x Reviewed union members “will never be replaced by AI”

Newsguild also said on The article was “a transparent attempt at union-busting by Gannett by threatening journalists with losing their jobs,” after reviewed union members staged a two-day walkout this month in protest of a new contract.

Ms. Anton said Gannett’s accusation of union-busting was “categorically false.”

He added, “Our leadership is focused on investing in our newsroom and monetizing our content as we continue to negotiate fairly and in good faith.”





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