AI taking over the newsfeeds
It should not come as a surprise, but AI is taking over the newsfeeds. Within a couple of weeks, the number of AI-generated news and information sites showed a 155% increase – from 49 in April this year to 125 on the 15th of May. The number was published by NewsGuard, an independent news and information ratings service.
NewsGuard even coined a new term, the UAIN, or “unreliable AI-generated news site”. They have defined four criteria for a site to be considered UAIN: Clear evidence that a substantial portion of the site’s content is produced by AI. In addition, a strong evidence that the content is being published without significant human oversight (e.g. numerous articles might contain error messages or other language specific to chatbot responses). Furthermore, the site has a layout, generic or benign name, or other content typical to a news and information website, leading readers to believe that content is produced by human writers or journalists. Finally, the site does not clearly disclose that its content is produced by AI.
UAIN sites are proliferating as they can tap advertising money with minimal cost. They seem to be designed to attract programmatic advertising by carrying generic news site names and churning out clickbait articles. The sites do not simply republish existing news articles, they “generate” news themselves. NewsGuard states that “These sometimes include false claims, such as celebrity death hoaxes, fabricated events, and articles presenting old events as if they just occurred.”
In the future many news sites will use AI tools (some already do) but also deploy effective human oversight, which will set them apart from UAINs. Human judgment supported by AI can improve efficiency and reliability but if pure AI is taking over the newsfeeds it will undermine the trust in news in general and funnel revenue away from genuine journalism.