Act now to stop WordPress and Tumblr selling your content to AI firms

Act now to stop WordPress and Tumblr sharing your content with AI firms

If you’ve spent the last umpteen years pouring blood, sweat, and tears into creating content for your Tumblr or WordPress.com blog, chances are that you would appreciate some payback all of your hard work.

Instead, though, Automattic (the parent company of Tumblr and WordPress.com) is going to monetise it – selling access to the information you have publicly posted to selected AI companies.

Up until now, Automattic says that it has been blocking, by default, the bots run by major AI platforms to information from the internet.

But that’s all set to change. Because Automattic says it is now forcing you to opt-out of having your content shared with AI companies.

WordPress.com privacy settings
WordPress.com privacy settings

If sharing your content with AI firms is such a great thing for the publishers of blogs, you have to wonder why Automattic feels the need to enable it by default rather than insisting they opt-out – surely if it’s such a “win”, blog owners would be keen to opt-in themselves.

Links:

You should note that there are currently no laws in existence which force crawlers to follow these settings – you’re still relying on the good will of big tech companies to honour the request.

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BTW, if you’re a WordPress VIP customer (in other words, if you pay them the big bucks) then Automattic wants to reassure you that they’re not going to include you with the common hoi polloi.

Nick Genert, CEO of WordPress VIP at Automattic published a rather frantic post to his customers, clearly realising they were in danger of being mightily pissed off:

I want to assure WordPress VIP customers that your data has not been shared as part of any deal that Automattic may have negotiated and we will never share your data without explicit consent.

So, that’s alright then. One rule for them, something else for the rest of us…


Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

One comment on “Act now to stop WordPress and Tumblr selling your content to AI firms”

  1. John

    This doesn't seem to be the case for any self-hosted sites, or at least I cannot find an option for it on my personal site, so that's either a relief, or they've hidden it away.

    Are we sure whether this is the case and all self hosted sites are safe?

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