ChatGPT Is Hallucinating Fake Article Links by One of Its Publishing Partners

Bum Deal

When prompted to look for news that Business Insider broke as exclusive scoops, OpenAI's ChatGPT apparently either ignored or hallucinated incorrect links to articles from the media outlet — even though OpenAI signed a licensing deal with Business Insider's parent company.

The situation came to light in a letter penned by union members at Business Insider's Insider Union that sought details on the agreement signed late last year between its parent company Axel Springer and OpenAI, according to Nieman Lab, which acquired the document.

In the missive, the union showed damning evidence that OpenAI isn't yet honoring its end of the contract, which requires the tech company to attribute Axel Springer publications on articles and link to them as well, while OpenAI gets to mine Business Insider and sister publications such as Politico to train its large language models.

In examples, union members prompted ChatGPT to search for articles on sexual misconduct allegations against Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy and tech billionaire Elon Musk fathering twins with a Neuralink executive, both of which were Business Insider exclusives — but ChatGPT spat out links to other media outlets.

In other instances, ChatGPT even hallucinated fake links to Business Insider stories.

Fool Me Once

"We are... deeply worried that despite this partnership, OpenAI may be downplaying rather than elevating our works," reads the Insider Union letter. "Repeated efforts by unit members have been unable to prompt ChatGPT to link directly to our scoops, even when explicitly instructed to do so."

When reached for comment, an OpenAI representative told Nieman that attributions and links to partner news organizations like Business Insider haven't been deployed yet, and didn't give any indication when that would happen.

OpenAI has signed similar deals with other media companies, but this whole kerfuffle underscores the perils of news partnering with tech companies in the hunt to stay relevant and win eyeballs in the attention economy, and the lack of transparency and details on these deals.

Maybe this incident could just be a hiccup in a fruitful relationship, but the track record of tech companies and news media working together is often a flaming garbage fire, with news being the loser.

Remember the infamous pivot to video that Facebook instigated, which threw so many news outlets into a tailspin and saw so many reporters out of work?

Judging from this Business Insider mess with OpenAI, this latest trend has the potential to be just as bad.

More on OpenAI's ChatGPT: Study Finds That 52 Percent of ChatGPT Answers to Programming Questions Are Wrong