NewsBreak publishes untrue stories about Harvest19 charity

Occurred: January 2024

US-based news app NewsBreak published two inaccurate stories about a charity hosting a 24-hour foot-care clinic for homeless people, prompting concerns that homeless people might attend the non-event. 

The AI-generated stories alleged that Erie, Pennsylvania charity Harvest912 was hosting a 24-hour foot-care clinic for homeless people. The stories were untrue, and led to the charity having to issue a 'cease and desist' to NewsBreak to pull the stories due to concerns that homeless individuals might travel to the non-existent event, potentially causing harm.

“You are doing HARM by publishing this misinformation - homeless people will walk to these venues to attend a clinic that is not happening,” Harvest912 told NewsBreak in an email seen by Reuters

NewsBreak said it removed the articles, and blamed Harvest 19 for hosting incorrect information on its website.

The incident was one of a series involving NewsBreak, and raised questions about the accuracy and reliability of the company's AI technology, and about its business model governance and integrity.

System 🤖

Operator: Particle Media/NewsBreak
Developer: Particle Media/NewsBreak
Country: USA
Sector: NGO/non-profit/social enterprise
Purpose: Generate news articles
Technology: Chatbot
Issue: Mis/disinformation
Transparency: Governance