Marketing Junto - Automattic Selling Of Data To AI

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Automattic Selling Of Data To AI

When you get a service online, either a website or a program, now more than ever, you need to find out if and how your data will be used by that company.

Recently, Automattic the parent company of Tumblr and WordPress.com made it apparent that they are selling their users' data to ChatGPT. They are doing this via an Opt-Out method, where if you don't opt-out you're automatically sharing your data with ChatGPT.

This clearly infuriated the interwebs. Questions started being raised about who was effected by this.

At first glance the open source version of WordPress, WordPress.org, wasn't going to faced with this. Then after more digging many of us realized that if you're running any Automattic plugins on your site, like JetPack, etc., you might be having your data sucked in. As of writing, this is still not clear.

I want to get the record straight. Selling users' data to AI companies is a bit scummy in the first place, but making it so that users need to OPT-OUT is just plain wrong.

At first news outlets were sloppy and not differentiating between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. But after many of us in the open source community started a stink, they clarified that it was WordPress.com and Tumblr.com.

I'm bolding the suffixes because there is a difference between them. WordPress.com is the hosted version run by Automattic. This is the version that you need to opt-out of AI data collection. WordPress.org is the self-hosted, community-supported, open source software. In a future newsletter I'll get into a stink about my feelings on this confusion and how it's intentionally done by Automattic and their CEO Matt Mullenweg. But I'll leave that for another issue.

What do you think? Should it be opt-in vs. opt-out? Should this even be a deal that's happening? Let me know. Hit reply!


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