How DeviantArt ended up an AI chum bucket

In the Tragic Downfall of the Internet's Art Gallery, Slate charts the reputational demise of DeviantArt, once a vibrant community of artists, central to web culture, but now a mess of bots, AI pablum, abandoned NFT schemes and the like.

As VFX animator Romain Revert (Minions, The Lorax) pointed out on X, the bots had come for his old home base of DeviantArt. Its social accounts were promoting "top sellers" on the platform, with usernames like "Isaris-AI" and "Mikonotai," who reportedly made tens of thousands of dollars through bulk sales of autogenerated, dead-eyed 3D avatars. The sales weren't exactly legit—an online artist known as WyerframeZ looked at those users' followers and found pages of profiles with repeated names, overlapping biographies and account-creation dates, and zero creations of their own, making it apparent that various bots were involved in these "purchases."

It's not unlikely, as WyerframeZ surmised, that someone constructed a low-effort bot network that could hold up a self-perpetuating money-embezzlement scheme … After Revert declared this bot-on-bot fest to be "the downfall of DeviantArt," myriad other artists and longtime users of the platform chimed in to share in the outrage that these artificial accounts were monopolizing DeviantArt's promotional and revenue apparatuses. Several mentioned that they'd abandoned their DeviantArt accounts—all appearing to prove his dramatic point.

The tl;dr, it was sold to Wix, an Israeli web services company. Wix has also been in the news for firing staff critical of the Gaza war, for abusing the GPL, and for shutting down the website of critics of the Chinese government at Beijing's request. It is, as one person describes, "out-of-touch tech people that just want to make money off this thing" and they couldn't care less what anyone thinks of how.

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