Google News 'boosts' plagiarised AI articles

Occurred: 2023-

Google News was accused of 'boosting' AI-generated content over human journalism, prompting concerns about the governance and robustness of its content ranking system and the degradation of the information ecosystem.

404 Media reported dozens of examples of AI-written articles appearing on Google News that were very similar to articles previously written by news publications. In one instance, an article about Star Wars by a 'news site' called Worldtimetodays proved to be nearly identical to one published by Distractify, and featured the same author photograph. 

Google responded that the claims were inaccurate and that the AI articles only appeared for narrow queries, including queries that explicitly filtered out the date of the relevant original articles. Commentators pointed out that Google did not dispute that AI articles were being indexed by Google News. Google9to5 journalist Seth Weintraub had observed the same phenonomen after publishing a story on truck maker Rivian.

Developer: Alphabet/Google
Country: Global
Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts
Purpose: Rank content
Technology: Content ranking system
Issue: Robustness
Transparency: Governance; Black box