Discover more from Business Side
AI comes for clickbait
Last week, the news app Artifact launched a “clickbait title rewriting” feature. When a user marks a headline as clickbait in the app, a ChatGPT model rewrites it in real time. If enough users flag the same headline, a human reviewer can decide to make the AI-generated headline the default for all users.
Here’s a screenshot:
It’s an almost too-perfect metaphor for the end of digital media’s traffic era, when publishers like BuzzFeed and Upworthy perfected the art of clickbait and parlayed it into gobs of social traffic. Now, AI is literally writing those headlines out of existence.
The feature also points toward a new era of digital media, where people use AI to personalize the media they consume. You can imagine how the technology might generate full articles or even entire content feeds, personalized with your input. In his piece “Endless Media,” The Generalist’s Mario Gabriele teases out this future: “Over time, [AI] may match or surpass human abilities across mediums, leading to a world in which creating a film, comic, or novel can be done on demand, ad infinitum.”
For publishers, it’s a bit frightening. While we can only gesture at the specifics, a world of endless media would portend dramatic change for most outlets.
For now, as we outlined recently, there are two main paths for publishers to explore. The first is to consider how AI can help create and personalize more structured forms of content, like headlines or summaries. Here, Artifact’s clickbait feature provides a useful model for combining user input, AI tech, and editorial oversight. You can imagine this combination working for other use cases, such as elevating user comments, recommending articles, or personalizing stories.
The second path is to push in the opposite direction, leaning into content that relies on human judgment and perspective, like original reporting and writing that comes from a unique POV.
Over time, publishers that continue to occupy the middle ground – with content that is neither efficiently tailored nor clearly differentiated – will likely struggle to survive.
And here’s the latest news in digital media:
Wordpress.com adds support for paid newsletters. Similar to Substack, the company will take a 10% cut of subscription revenue from users on its Free plan. This fee decreases for users with Wordpress.com paid plans, down to a 0% fee for users on its $45 per month Commerce plan.
250+ Insider journalists are on an “indefinite” strike. The employees officially walked off the job late last week, citing a desire for a contract that “settles our healthcare ULP and pays us what we're worth.” Insider CEO Henry Blodget responded with a staff memo, saying the Insider union has created an “us vs. them” dynamic and reminding staff that they’re all on the “same team.”
More on publishers:
The AP launched an AI-powered search experience to help customers find photos and videos in its multimedia library.
A new study found that people prefer human-edited or produced videos to fully AI-generated clips.
The Block released an API to provide real-time access to its crypto news coverage.
BuzzFeed has until the end of November to improve its stock performance, or it risks being delisted from the Nasdaq.
More on platforms:
YouTube reversed its U.S. election integrity policy and will begin allowing content that makes election denial claims.
Two Twitter content safety execs left the company last week.
Google’s Bard can now use your location to provide better responses to local questions.
Thanks for being a part of Business Side’s private beta. Have a great day!