# AI

Amazon Investigates Perplexity AI Over Alleged Content Scraping

Amazon AI


  • Amazon reviews claims of unauthorized content scraping by Perplexity AI.
  • Perplexity accused of lifting entire fragments from Forbes and WIRED.


Amazon is examining claims that Perplexity AI has been illicitly extracting content from major news websites, with accusations of “cynical theft” from Forbes and WIRED prompting the investigation.


Amazon is currently investigating allegations that Perplexity AI, an emerging artificial intelligence startup, has been scraping content from prominent news websites without proper authorization. The accusations were highlighted by reports from WIRED and Forbes, which assert that Perplexity AI has accessed content from websites that explicitly prohibit such practices.


On Friday, June 28, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed that the company is scrutinizing these claims. The spokesperson emphasized that all Amazon Web Services (AWS) clients must adhere to the directives outlined in the robots.txt files of websites. These files are critical in guiding bots and web crawlers to avoid scraping data, whether for generative AI tools or other purposes.


“AWS’s terms of service prohibit abusive and illegal activities, and our customers are responsible for complying with those terms. We routinely receive reports of alleged abuse from various sources and engage with our customers to understand those reports,” the spokesperson elaborated.


Forbes’ editor and chief content officer, Randall Lane, accused Perplexity of “cynical theft,” claiming that the company has created “knockoff stories” containing “eerily similar wording” and “entirely lifted fragments” from its articles. Lane criticized Perplexity for not properly crediting Forbes, stating that the only mention of Forbes was a line at the bottom of every few paragraphs and a small icon resembling the Forbes logo.


The controversy has raised questions about the ethical boundaries of AI-generated content and the responsibilities of companies using such technologies. Perplexity AI, a San Francisco-based startup, had previously been praised by top tech investors, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. However, it now faces significant scrutiny over these plagiarism accusations.


Aravind Srinivas, CEO of Perplexity, denied allegations that his company was “ignoring the Robot Exclusions Protocol and then lying about it.” Srinivas acknowledged that Perplexity uses third-party web crawlers in addition to its own and confirmed that the bot identified by WIRED was among them. He conceded that Forbes’ criticism regarding the prominence of source credit was valid and mentioned that sources are now more prominently spotlighted.


This incident underscores the growing tension between AI innovation and intellectual property rights, as more companies deploy AI technologies that can replicate human-created content. The investigation by Amazon highlights the importance of adherence to ethical guidelines and legal standards in the rapidly evolving field of AI.


Amazon and Perplexity have been contacted for further comments on the situation. As the investigation continues, the tech community awaits to see the outcomes and potential implications for AI content generation practices.


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