Jesselyn Cook noticed that a site called NewsBuzzr had ripped off one of her stories at Huffington Post. It turned out to be some kind of awful plagiarism bot that uses a thesaurus to avoid detection as duplicate content, resulting in hilariously mangled prose. Cook calls it "truly excellent “Florida Male” content" and I hope that term sticks.
The intro to my story, which describes a woman feeling an “urgent tap” on her shoulder, had been changed to say that she felt a “pressing faucet” instead. The term “sex videos” had become “intercourse movies,” and the quote “I was definitely shocked” had morphed into this nonsense: “I used to be indisputably surprised.” The entire piece had been altered, seemingly word-by-word, rendering some sentences far less coherent than others.
Humor aside, the scale of the scam is such that it makes real money, which it is ultimately depriving its victims of. There was a point about a decade ago where the number of sites scraping Boing Boing became uncountable, but sadly none of them turned our hard-driving coverage into magnetic storage delineations.
The screengrab above is from the NewsBuzzr-world's own science educator, "Invoice Nye the Science Man." Google has already banned NewsBuzzr from AdSense.
Airhelp is a service that helps airline passengers in 30 countries file claims (for delays, lost bags, overbookings, and cancellations) structured to increase the likelihood of paying out; the bots have made $930m in successful claims to date, and the company behind it only collects a commission when a claim succeeds.
Just days before the horrific mass murder at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, my Institute for the Future colleagues Sam Woolley and Katie Joseff published a deeply upsetting study on how social media bots and computational propaganda are being used to instigate and amplify anti-semitism online and manipulate public opinion. From the paper: This report […]
Repairnator is a bot that identifies bugs in open source software integration and creates patches without human intervention, submitting them to the open source project's maintainers under an assumed human identity; it has succeeded in having five of its patches accepted so far.
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