Ads From Major Brands Appearing on Unreliable AI-Generated Websites Says Study

Research from NewsGuard found that ads from over 140 major brands are running on websites with content produced by bots.

Image: Jonas Leupe

According to an analysis by NewsGuard, ads from “major global brands” are appearing on numerous websites with AI-generated text. First reported by MIT Technology Review, the study said that 140 major brands are paying for ads that end up on next-gen content platforms that often feature unreliable AI-written content – likely without their knowledge.

According to NewsGuard, more than 90 percent of the ads it identified — 356 of 393 — were served by Google Ads.

“Because this process is so opaque, the underlying brands in this report likely have no idea that they are funding the spread of UAIN websites (unreliable artificial intelligence-generated news) since the ads are purchased through third parties and there are multiple intermediaries involved,” said NewsGuard.


 

NewsGuard cites Google’s ad policies stating that sites may not “place Google-served ads on pages” that include “spammy automatically-generated content.”  That includes “Text generated through automated processes without regard for quality or user experience.”

Since it first started tracking the spread of UAIN websites in May of this year, NewsGuard says it has identified some 25 new sites a week.

“It appears that programmatic advertising is the main revenue source for these AI-generated websites,” Lorenzo Arvanitis, an analyst, told MIT Technology Review.

“We have identified hundreds of Fortune 500 companies and well-known, prominent brands that are advertising on these sites and that are unwittingly supporting it.”


 

The NewsGuard report did not specify which brands appeared on the AI-generated sites, but noted that their research “found programmatic ads for a top tier global bank, two leading broadband providers, a high-profile sports apparel company, and one car manufacturer.”

 

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