Google Reportedly Paying News Outlets to Unleash an Avalanche of AI Slop - 3 minutes read

Google swears it’s not trying to kill journalism, but many of its latest projects seem geared toward that end. Google is paying five-figure sums to small publishers asking them to test out a generative AI platform geared toward newsrooms. News outlets are asked to publish three of these AI-assisted articles a day, in exchange for sending analytics and feedback to Google, according to a report from Adweek on Tuesday.

“The experimental tool is being responsibly designed to help small, local publishers produce high quality journalism using factual content from public data sources,” said Google spokesperson Meghann Farnsworth in a statement to Gizmodo. Google emphasizes these tools are not intended to replace the “essential role journalists have.”

As the media industry is hammered by layoffs, struggling newsrooms would likely jump at Google’s offer. To reiterate, Google is paying newsrooms to supply them with free content. This is very different from how newsrooms usually get articles: paying journalists, usually five-figure sums. The test of Google’s unreleased AI platform is small but allegedly requires frequent use.

Google, and the rest of the internet, is slowly becoming filled with AI-generated slop. Researchers found that a “shocking” amount of the web, 57.1%, is already AI-translated garbage. Beloved blogs like “The Hairpin” are being turned into AI clickbait farms under the guise of reputable brands. It’s a side effect of AI being injected into everything, and Google is leading the effort.

Publishers must use the generative AI platform to produce and publish three articles a day, one newsletter per week, and one marketing campaign per month, according to Adweek. Google’s platform works by aggregating content from a human-curated list of websites into a dashboard. With the click of a button, a human editor can use the Gen AI tool to create news articles out of any new post on the dashboard. Then the human editor edits the articles for clarity before publishing.

Google is essentially showing media executives exactly how AI could replace entry-level journalists, and it’s paying them to use its demo. Google did its best to make this a no-brainer for struggling media companies, which is most of them.

The use of this tool reportedly does not require publishers to label these articles as being AI-generated. Google notes the tool is not being used to republish other outlets’ work.

Google came under fire for testing out a version of Google Search with no News tab last week. The search engine also has seen a rise in AI-generated content on Google News, as called out by 404 Media in January.

Google has benefited significantly from journalism over the last 20 years, as news articles populate its search engine with reliable information. Now the company is giving something back, by paying journalists to use AI to replace them.


Powered by