For the second time in a month, Microsoft has published “fake news” at its news aggregator, MSN.com.
This is the second time within a four-week period that Microsoft published news stories that were glaringly obviously not written by a journalist.
In August, a travel story stayed online for at least five days that included the Ottowa Food Bank as the third-most important place that visitors “shouldn’t miss” when “headed to Ottawa.”
Microsoft has not apologized. The article that generated this latest mess is still live on Racetrack.news.
MSN joins a bevy of news organizations illustrating the problems with algorithmic reporting:
- CNET is now letting an AI write articles for its site. The problem? It’s kind of a moron. (29 Jan 2023)
- How an AI-written Star Wars story created chaos at Gizmodo (08 July 2023 )
- Magazine publishes serious errors in first ai-generated health article (13 Feb 2023, updated 18 Feb 2023)
- Need 44 reasons why you need to be careful about publishing AI-assisted content, even if it is easy to do? Meet As Told to Buzzy (BuzzFeed, 31 Mar 2023)
Some newsroom automation makes common sense, such as updating election results or stock market information.
But “news reports” created in whole by an algorithm scraping copyrighted information … whether or not the algorithm mangled the rewrite … should be a front-and-center news story. Software is displacing far more employees than journalists (see the Hollywood writer’s strike). Yet we have zero national public policy action on the social impacts of algorithmic software
Should news organizations label any report generated by an algorithm?
Known for gnawing at complex questions like a terrier with a bone. Digital evangelist, writer, teacher. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles. @kegill (Twitter and Mastodon.social); wiredpen.com