Written by 11:54 pm Generative AI, Uncategorized

### Sports Illustrated Removes Articles by Fake Authors and AI-Generated Profile Pictures

Sports Illustrated on Monday said it had deleted several articles from its website after a report f…

After a shocking revelation that the once-prestigious traditional magazine had been posting articles using fictitious author names and employing AI-generated profile pictures, Sports Illustrated made an announcement on Monday about the removal of specific articles from its website.

According to a report by Utopianism, the magazine had a practice of publishing articles written by anonymous individuals exclusively for the Sports Illustrated platform. These articles were consistently accompanied by AI-generated profile images, which Futurism discovered were readily available for purchase on online platforms specializing in IoT-generated headshots.

In the course of Futurism’s investigation, some of the alleged Sports Illustrated writers disappeared from the website, only for their articles to reappear under different author names. Interestingly, these new authors also had their images available for sale on AI headshot marketplaces, despite lacking any identifiable online presence.

The Arena Group, the organization that has owned Sports Illustrated since 2019, released a statement following the report’s publication, informing CNN that the contentious product review articles were produced by AdVon Commerce, an external entity.

The director stated, “We are currently removing the content as our internal investigation progresses and have severed ties with the entity. We discovered that AdVon instructed writers to use aliases or pseudonyms in certain articles to protect author anonymity—a practice that goes against our principles.”

As per the Arena Group director, AdVon’s team of writers, editors, and researchers combines traditional editorial methods with AI tools to generate content.

A spokesperson for the organization informed CNN that “we consistently monitor our partners and were already in the process of reviewing them when these allegations came to light.” AdVon maintained that all the aforementioned articles were created and edited by human beings.

Despite CNN’s efforts to elicit a response from AdVon, the company remained unresponsive. This incident marks the second instance in recent times where AdVon has been involved in an AI-generated content controversy.

In a separate incident in October, Reviewed, a Gannett-owned company, faced backlash for allegedly utilizing AI to produce articles. The platform featured numerous pieces attributed to authors who were unidentifiable online, leading to a similar investigation. Gannett, however, denied any involvement of AI in content creation.

In response to Futurism’s report on Monday, the Sports Illustrated Union, representing the magazine’s creative team, expressed deep concern over the allegations.

The union stated that if the allegations were proven true, such practices would contradict the fundamental principles of journalism they adhere to. They expressed remorse for being associated with actions that demonstrate disrespect towards their audience.

Several Sports Illustrated writers took to social media to express their discontent.

Emma Baccellieri, a team poet at Sports Illustrated, highlighted the importance of having a byline in Sports Illustrated, stating, “I value integrity, journalistic ethics, etc., greatly—especially the significance of having a byline in Sports Illustrated. It held meaning for me long before I joined the team. This news was deeply troubling.”

Another writer and editor at the magazine, Mitch Goldich, commented, “The practices outlined in today’s report severely undermine the credibility of the dedicated professionals I’ve had the honor to work with for the past 9 years.”

The Arena Group is not the only publishing entity grappling with the rapid integration of AI technology. Some news outlets have started using AI to streamline and expedite the publication of specific content types since the technology’s rise in the professional realm almost a year ago, resulting in diverse outcomes. For example, the Online News Association has issued a detailed guide for publications on effectively harnessing AI.

However, as demonstrated by Gannett’s experience this summer with experimenting on AI-generated content for high school sports articles, news organizations remain cautious about relying solely on AI for comprehensive story development.

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Last modified: February 8, 2024
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