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Medium set to pull the plug on AI-generated content

The popular blogging and publishing platform will ban AI-generated content in its paid Partner Program.

user icon David Hollingworth
Mon, 15 Apr 2024
Medium set to pull the plug on AI-generated content
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Online publishing platform Medium has announced that it will soon ban artificial intelligence-generated content from being used in its Partner Program.

The company has begun notifying its users of the change, and many are sharing the message widely.

“We are writing to notify you of policy updates that may impact your participation in the Medium Partner Program,” the email, which was sent to users last week, read.


“Medium is for human storytelling, not AI-generated writing. We recently defined and clarified our specific policies around the different uses of AI-generated content and technologies, and what is allowed in the Medium Partner Program. You can read those policies in our Help Center.

“Beginning May 1, 2024, stories with AI-generated writing (disclosed as such or not) are not allowed to be paywalled as part of our Partner Program.”

The ban also appears to be somewhat retroactive, with partners advised to remove AI-generated content from behind user paywalls by 1 May. Failure to do so could even lead to the offending user being unenrolled from the paid Partner Program.

“Please remove all AI-generated writing from behind the paywall by May 1st to remain compliant with this policy, and stay active in the Partner Program,” Medium said, before going on to outline what it considers to be AI-generated writing.

“We define AI-generated writing as writing where the majority of the content has been created by an AI-writing program with little or no edits, improvements, fact-checking, or changes. This does not include AI writing tools such as AI outlining, or AI assisted fact, spelling, or grammar checkers,” Medium said.

It’s worth noting that this is not a complete ban – AI content is still welcome on the platform, particularly if it is disclosed as such. It just won’t be as widely shared on the network. The main takeaway is that Medium clearly does not want any of its users to make money from simply generating content using a clever prompt.

Some users, however, are already questioning whether such a ban is even enforceable.

Author and futurist Thaddeus Howze said in a blog post – on Medium – that while he does not fear the ban, he does question how it can work.

“But I have to ask, having spent quite a bit of time writing about generative AI,” Howze asked of Medium, “how exactly do you plan to determine if someone is generating their work through artificial, generative AI means?”

As Howze pointed out, there are many free tools available that claim to be able to spot AI content, but they’re not infallible. Further, it’s not too difficult to get ChatGPT to generate a piece of writing and then, with relatively simple editing, remove the telltale signs of generative AI at work.

However, Howze is sympathetic regarding the challenge that Medium has set itself.

“I don’t envy your decisions,” Howze wrote. “With no easy way to determine who is writing what, we are poised upon the edge of an abyss. I am uncertain if your agency can do anything to stem this mechanised tide of algorithmically generated nonsense.”

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth has been writing about technology for over 20 years, and has worked for a range of print and online titles in his career. He is enjoying getting to grips with cyber security, especially when it lets him talk about Lego.

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