CNET Halts Publishing AI-Generated Stories Following Disclosure Controversy

Jan 23, 2023

CNET is a media company that has been around for more than two decades. It was founded in 1994 and is based in San Francisco, California. They have a website called, which covers a wide range of technology topics and more. They also run a YouTube channel where they post tutorials and product reviews and also have a podcast network that focuses on technology-related topics. Recently, I discovered that CNET has put a pause on all its publications because their stories were being generated using an artificial intelligence (AI) tool. CNET only formally announced the use of AI when readers noticed a tiny disclosure.  Their Editor in Chief claimed the use of the AI was not secret but quiet. 

CNET Puts a Pause to Publishing AI-Generated Stories

Readers noticed that original publications of the stories contained errors such as confusing abbreviated terms. You would find terms such as APR and APY and some incorrect calculations on some figures. Apparently, CNET is amongst several websites that have been publishing and writing using AI. An example of other sites is and Bankrate, which have also paused any AI stories.

CNET Puts a Pause to Publishing AI-Generated Stories

The unnamed AI tool was built by Red Ventures, and editors can choose domain-level sections and domains from which to get data to generate their stories. The Editors could also use AI-generated text as well as their own reporting and writing. No information was received on the data set that was used to train the AI, and no information was received concerning plagiarism. This was dismissed by saying that more information would be made available at a later stage. 

The leadership of the company went on to differentiate between the unnamed AI tool and other automated technology that Red Ventures uses. These automated tools are used to insert numbers for refinance rate and mortgage rate stories. These tools have been in use for longer than the company has disclosed it.  CNET  is set to start disclosing its own stories about AI. 

According to The Verge, the staff were clueless about what was going on in terms of the use of AI tools. Publishing content on banking and finance is something media sites love because it draws a lot of attention through search engines, and this can be converted into affiliate link profits.  When a media company creates content, it's standard practice that they want the information optimized for search engines. The problem comes when a bot is used to identify and create these stories, and this totally defies the ethical editorial practice.  CNET prioritized making money rather than staying timely and relevant with its news. 

In response to all these accusations, CNET published a post called ‘Opens in a new window', explaining that the AI was solely intended to test if it could assist their busy staff of editors and reporters by covering topics from a wider perspective. The justification is that the technology gave them time and energy to focus on deeper reporting and analysis.



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  1. bruh said on August 18, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    Uhh, this has already been possible – I am not sure how but remember my brother telling me about it. I’m not a whatsapp user so not sure of the specifics, but something about sending the image as a file and somehow bypassing the default compression settings that are applied to inbound photos.

    He has also used this to share movies to whatsapp groups, and files 1Gb+.

    Like I said, I never used whatsapp, but I know 100% this isn’t a “brand new feature”, my brother literally showed me him doing it, like… 5 months ago?

  2. 💥 said on August 18, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    Martin, what happened to those: 12 Comments ( Is there a specific justifiable reason why they were deleted?

    Hmm, it looks like the gHacks website database is faulty, and not populating threads with their relevant cosponsoring posts.

  3. 45 RPM said on August 19, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk that it’s about to be deleted from my ‘daily reads’.

    It’s really like “Press Release as re-written by some d*ck for clicks…poorly.” And the subjects are laughable. Can’t wait for “How to search for files on Windows”.

    1. owl said on August 20, 2023 at 12:51 am

      > The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk…

      Sadly, I have to agree.

      Only Martin and Ashwin are worth subscribing to.
      Especially Emre Çitak and Shaun are the worst ones.

      If intended “Clickbait”, it would mark the end of Ghacks Technology News.
      Ghacks doesn’t need crappy clickbaits. Clearly separate articles from newer authors (perhaps AIs and external sales person or external advertising man) as just “Advertisements”!

      We, the subscribers of Ghacks, urge Martin to make a decision.

  4. chessandonions said on August 20, 2023 at 12:40 am

    because nevermore wants to “monetize” on every aspect of human life…

  5. Frank Rizzo said on August 20, 2023 at 11:52 pm

    “Threads” is like the Walmart of Social Media.

  6. Ashray said on August 21, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    How hard can it be to clone a twitter version of that as well? They’re slow.

  7. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    Yes, why not mention how large the HD files can be?
    Why, not mention what version of WhatsApp is needed?
    These omissions make the article feel so bare. If not complete.

    1. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:18 pm

      Sorry posted on the wrong page.

  8. Marc said on August 21, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    such a long article for such a simple matter. Worthless article ! waste of time

  9. plusminus_ said on August 21, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    I already do this by attaching them via the ‘Document’ option.

  10. John G. said on August 21, 2023 at 11:43 pm

    I don’t know what’s going on here at Ghacks but it’s obvious that something is broken, comments are being mixed whatever the article, I am unable to find some of my later posts neither. :S

  11. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    Quoting the article,
    “As users gain popularity, the value of their tokens may increase, allowing investors to reap rewards.”

    Besides, beyond the thrill and privacy risks or not, the point is to know how you gain popularity, be it on social sites as everywhere in life. Is it by being authentic, by remaining faithful to ourselves or is it to have this particular skill which is to understand what a majority likes, just like politicians, those who’d deny to the maximum extent compatible with their ideological partnership, in order to grab as many of the voters they can?

    I see the very concept of this as unhealthy, propagating what is already an increasing flaw : the quest for fame. I won’t be the only one to count himself out, definitely.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:34 pm

      @John G. is right : my comment was posted on [] and it appears there but as well here at []

      This has been lasting for several days. Fix it or at least provide some explanations if you don’t mind.

  12. Tom said on August 24, 2023 at 11:53 am

    > Google Chrome is following in Safari’s footsteps by introducing a new feature that allows users to move the Chrome address bar to the bottom of the screen, enhancing user accessibility and interaction.

    Firefox did this long before Safari.

  13. Mavoy said on September 16, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    Basically they’ll do anything except fair royalties.

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