March 2, 2024

Automaticc announces selling of WordPress users’ content using only ‘opt-out’

This is republished from Morton’s blog: on Feb. 29, 2024.

The Ten Questions

  1. Why do users have to opt-out of sharing their data with AI companies? This assumes most users agree to share their content with AI services. What data and/or reasoning backs up this assumption?
  2. Who gets the revenues from this data sharing, and how much are those revenues? Specifically, are creators being compensated for their data being sold to a third party?
  3. Who decides on behalf of abandoned sites or sites whose creators are no longer with us? Not everyone has the capability of opting out. Who speaks on their behalf and protects their interests?
  4. How were the affected users consulted on this? And what was their feedback?
  5. What professionals were consulted, and what did they say? Did you consult with legal? Did you consult with your ethics officer (I’m assuming you have one)? Who else were involved in this decision?
  6. How does selling this data line up with your open source principle of users owning their own content? Who do you believe own and have the right to profit from user content hosted on your platforms?
  7. Is the data being sold only from free sites, or does it also include sites the user pays you to host on your platform? If the latter, how do you justify “double-dipping” in the revenue stream?
  8. Why do you believe this is the right decision to make on behalf of your users? And how do you respond to those who say it is not?
  9. How did you pick these commercial AI companies over open source alternatives? Reporting indicates you are in talks with OpenAI and Midjourney. Neither is open source.
  10. Why should we trust you with our data going forward? See The Five Questions of Tony Benn.

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Brendan O'Connell

Brendan is a longtime WordPress user and has built and managed hundreds of websites over the last decade.

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