ChatGPT browsing, a Bing-based search engine feature, has been temporarily disabled by OpenAI after a loophole allowed users to bypass paid content.
In a tweet on July 4, OpenAI informed users of the temporary halt to fix the issue and “do justice to the content owners”.
“We have found that ChatGPT’s ‘Browse’ beta can occasionally display content in a way we don’t want it to, eg if a user explicitly requests the full text of a URL, it may inadvertently fulfill that request. We’re disabling Browsing during the fix.”
We’ve found that ChatGPT beta “Browse” can occasionally display content in a way we don’t want it to, eg if a user explicitly requests the full text of a URL, it may inadvertently fulfill that request. We’re disabling Browse in the patch – we want content owners to have it.
— OpenAI (@OpenAI) July 4, 2023
Browsing is currently in beta and is available to ChatGPT Plus subscribers. Once the initial issues are resolved in the testing phase, it appears that OpenAI may have addressed the issue in response to a post on Reddit.
In late June, subReddit member r/ChatGPT posted a screenshot from a Browse session where he asked a chatbot to “print the text” of a link to a paid article from The Atlantic.
In response, ChatGPT provided the full article without a paywall.
The post received 6,200 upvotes and 284 comments with some speculating that ChatGPT “uses the same mechanism” as online paywall removers, which “reads Google’s cached version” that does not have a paywall for SEO purposes.
Another Reddit user “Red_Laughing_Man” suggested that ChatGPT could simply ignore any paywall code used to place the banner over the top of the content until someone registers or logs in.
One Redditor aptly urged people to “enjoy it while it lasts.”
Using data scraping to train artificial intelligence models has become a prevalent issue in recent months.
On July 1, Twitter owner Elon Musk cited the data scraping as the reason new limits on the number of tweets users can read per day on the platform.
OpenAI has previously been sued over this issue. Cointelegraph reported on June 29 that the creator of ChatGPT was hit with a class action lawsuit alleged acquisition of private user information from the Internet.