Google News is boosting sites that rip-off other outlets by using AI to rapidly churn out content, 404 Media has found. Google told 404 Media that although it tries to address spam on Google News, the company ultimately does not focus on whether a news article was written by an AI or a human, opening the way for more AI-generated content making its way onto Google News.
The presence of AI-generated content on Google News signals two things: first, the black box nature of Google News, with entry into Google News’ rankings in the first place an opaque, but apparently gameable, system. Second, is how Google may not be ready for moderating its News service in the age of consumer-access AI, where essentially anyone is able to churn out a mass of content with little to no regard for its quality or originality.
“I want to read the original stories written by journalists who actually researched them and spoke to primary sources. Any news junkie would,” Brian Penny, a ghostwriter who first flagged some of the seemingly AI-generated articles to 404 Media, said.
One example was a news site called Worldtimetodays.com, which is littered with full page and other ads. On Wednesday it published an article about Star Wars fandom. The article was very similar to one published a day earlier on the website Distractify, with even the same author photo. One major difference, though, was that Worldtimetodays.com wrote “Let’s be honest, war of stars fans,” rather than Star Wars fans. Another article is a clear rip-off of a piece from Heavy.com, with Worldtimetodays.com not even bothering to replace the Heavy.com watermarked artwork. Gary Graves, the listed author on Worldtimetodays.com, has published more than 40 articles in a 24 hour period.