NovaXyon Affiliate Marketing Had been those product overview articles written via AI? Gannett says no

Had been those product overview articles written via AI? Gannett says no


Reviewed, Gannett’s product reviews site, took down several affiliate marketing articles that some of its journalists claimed were generated by artificial intelligence.

The articles in question first went up on Friday and included reviews of products that Reviewed does not typically cover, like dietary supplements, according to the Reviewed Union, which represents journalists and lab and operations workers at the outlet. The posts, which were part of a new shopping page, did not have bylines, and union members decried the work as an attempt to replace their labor. By Tuesday morning, the page was gone. Reviewed then republished the stories in the afternoon with a disclaimer that they had not been written by staff before taking the page down again.

As of Tuesday evening, the shopping page was still down, though links to individual stories still worked.

The articles were created by third-party freelancers hired by a marketing agency partner, not AI, Reviewed spokesperson Lark-Marie Anton wrote in an emailed statement: “The pages were deployed without the accurate affiliate disclaimers and did not meet our editorial standards.”

Reviewed follows USA Today’s ethical guidelines regarding AI-generated content, Anton added. Those guidelines stipulate that journalists disclose the use of AI and its limitations when publishing AI-assisted content.

One of the freelancers credited on the shopping page wrote on his LinkedIn profile that he has experience in “(d)etail-oriented and eloquent copywriting and editing focused on polishing AI generative text.”

On Tuesday, the Reviewed Union, part of the NewsGuild of New York, publicly blasted the company, claiming that the articles had been made using AI tools. They pointed to “a mechanical tone and repetitive phrases” within the reviews.

The union also suggested that several of the freelancers listed on Reviewed’s page were not real. They identified “nondescript” and “stilted” biographies and said that Google searches had failed to uncover past work or LinkedIn profiles.

The dispute comes a few weeks after unionized staff at Reviewed staged a one-day strike. Workers there went public with their union drive in December and will soon begin negotiating a first contract.

“The timing of it is no accident,” said senior editor Alex Kane. “It’s an ugly card for them to play because it goes against everything we’ve heard for the years that I’ve been at Reviewed about how authorities, expertise, quality and helping readers are what matters.”

Unionized journalists at other Gannett newsrooms are currently trying to negotiate protections against the use of AI. They seek to ensure that their work will not be replaced by AI and that any content produced with the help of AI meets journalistic standards. Gannett faced heavy criticism in August after it partnered with Lede AI to generate high school sports recaps that contained awkward phrasing and errors.

This piece originally appeared in The Poynter Report, our daily newsletter for everyone who cares about the media. Subscribe to The Poynter Report here.


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