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ChatGPT is hallucinating fake links to its news partners’ biggest investigations

Nieman Lab’s tests show ChatGPT is directing users to broken URLs for at least 10 publications with OpenAI licensing deals.


Every time an announcement has been made about a publisher striking a deal to licence their content to train AIs, it’s made me wince. I know there are a complex set of pros and cons for companies to consider, but it feels like doing a deal with the devil and giving away the very content that sets you apart for instant cash, and a link to your reporting somewhere in an AI-generated summary.

It turns out it isn’t even doing that properly. Andrew Deck at Nieman Lab has found that ChatGPT is ‘hallucinating’ URLs for more than 10 publications that are part of OpenAI’s ongoing licensing deals, including the WSJ, Financial Times, Le Monde, The Atlantic and more.

Most of these partnered media companies have explicitly stated in licencing deals that ChatGPT will link to their websites. “It is unclear how OpenAI can guarantee these attribution and citation features for its partners while the underlying ChatGPT product is regularly outputting broken links to those same websites,” Deck points out.

But it’s not the big guys with the power to flag these errors who will lose out eventually, is it.


What happened when British GQ stopped trying to ‘feed the algorithm’

GQ’s European director of audience development, analytics and social Neha-Tamara Patel on a major strategy change at the lifestyle brand.

This might seem obvious but it’s a REALLY difficult treadmill to jump off if you’re on it, so huge props to Neha-Tamara Patel for leading this strategy shift. “It was apparent to me that we were doing a lot of what I call ‘feeding the algorithm content’,” she explained. “It meant that we had a lot of churn, a lot of people coming in for that quickfire content and then leaving again without really accessing the broader spectrum of what we do as a brand. So we really made a conscious decision to slow things down…”


Building a new print magazine, newsletter first

Build a newsletter, develop a community and then print a mag.

I love this approach, which funnily enough is similar to what Peter and Jo have done with The Magazine Diaries and The Grub Street Journal. In reality though, it’s more smart marketing than publishing strategy – if you want to sell a product, that’s much easier if you have an audience who know and love you first.


‘Time’ to launch pop-up newsletter on the Paris Olympics

“The Olympics Brief'” will appear several times a week during the games.

I love a pop-up newsletter. The Olympics Brief will also coincide with the publication of Time’s Olympics issue. The publisher did something similar during last year’s Women’s World Cup which achieved a 65.6% open rate and 75.1% average dwell time. Let’s hope the newsletter is a top performer ????

More from Media Voices


5 years of pain ahead: publishing needs to go old-school to survive AI threats

“What’s your competitive advantage as a publishing business? It’s not the ability to churn out more articles than anybody else,” says Ian Betteridge.


What kind of idiots still make magazines?

Joanna Cummings and Peter Houston discuss new B2B print title The Grub Street Journal, from inception to monetisation, challenges and more.


Setting the tone in podcasts and newsletters

In Charlotte Henry’s latest ‘Lessons from the creator economy’ column, she explains why publishers across the board are struggling to find the balance between professionalisation and informality.

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