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AI tools are 'writing fiction' in this massively popular news app

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses the issues surrounding the news app NewsBreak, which has been accused of publishing erroneous and AI-generated stories that have negatively impacted local communities. It also explores the app's Chinese roots and concerns about potential data access and censorship.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] NewsBreak's AI-Generated Content Issues

1. What are the key issues with NewsBreak's use of AI to generate news content?

  • NewsBreak has published multiple erroneous stories using AI technology, including a false report about a shooting in Bridgeton, New Jersey that never occurred.
  • The app has created stories under fictitious bylines by scraping content from local news sites, which raises concerns about copyright infringement.
  • NewsBreak's AI-generated stories have negatively impacted local charities and community programs by publishing incorrect information about their services.

2. How has NewsBreak responded to these issues?

  • NewsBreak has removed the erroneous articles after being notified, but did not initially respond to the charities' complaints.
  • The company added a disclaimer to its homepage acknowledging that its content "may not always be error-free."
  • NewsBreak claimed the fictitious byline experiment was a "limited" effort that has been discontinued.

[02] NewsBreak's Chinese Roots and Data Concerns

1. What are the concerns about NewsBreak's Chinese origins and data practices?

  • NewsBreak was originally a subsidiary of the Chinese news aggregation app Yidian, which had ties to Chinese state media.
  • About half of NewsBreak's 200 employees are based in China, where they are engaged in R&D for the app.
  • There are concerns that user data from the U.S. app could be accessed by the Chinese government, similar to the issues faced by TikTok.
  • NewsBreak claims it complies with U.S. data and privacy laws, and that its China-based staff only access anonymous data stored on U.S. servers.

2. How has NewsBreak positioned itself as a U.S. company?

  • NewsBreak's CEO divides his time between China and the U.S., and the company's leadership has emphasized its status as a "California company" to maintain its reputation.
  • The company has stated that it is a U.S.-based and U.S.-invested business, not subject to Chinese data laws.
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