Stack Overflow users rebel against OpenAI LLM training deal

Occurred: May 2024

A deal that allows OpenAI to train its AI models using the answers and knowledge Stack Overflow users resulted in protests by software developers and others.

One user, Ben Ui, a software developer, chose to protest by overwriting his previous posts with complaints about the deal. This action resulted in a week-long suspension and his posts were reverted. Other users have reported similar experiences.

Users are upset that their data is being used without explicit permission. They argue that they should have the right to delete their own content from the site through the “right to forget,” a legal right codified into law through the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). However, Stack Overflow’s Terms of Service state that all content provided to the site is irrevocably owned by Stack Overflow.

Despite the protests, Stack Overflow’s terms-of-use don’t appear to give users much wiggle room, as it seems the data can be used for AI training. The situation has led to a significant amount of controversy within the Stack Overflow community.

Operator: Stack Overflow
Developer: OpenAI
Country: Global
Sector: Technology
Purpose: Train large language models
Technology: Large language models
Issue: Human/civil rights