Automattic betrayal of its users

This is a rant commentary about the 404 Media article: Tumblr and Wordpress to Sell Users’ Data to Train AI Tools.

"Tumblr and Wordpress are preparing to sell user data to Midjourney and OpenAI, according to a source with internal knowledge about the deals and internal documentation referring to the deals." — from the linked article.

If true, this is a disgusting move by Automattic. Blogs are the last bastion of a user-driven Web. By now, we all realised that social networks will both mine and influence users for a profit, that the real product they sell is not convenience or connection, but user data and attention to whoever is able to pay. Blogs on the other hand has been the opposite, they've always been about connections and relationships, fostering communities and grassroots content over algorithmic anxiety-inducing feeds. Many people flocked to Automattic-owned platforms such as Wordpress and Tumblr in an attempt to escape social networks and own their own content. Automattic promised a home on the Web for its users, and now it will apparently simply sell them out.

This is not an opt-in scheme, there is no revenue sharing with users, there is only greed.

I don't think we can trust these companies anymore. Clearly, all of them will simply sell your content to train A.I. models and to hell with your ownership.

It is crucial that we pay more attention to movements like the IndieWeb. As Web users we need to own our own platforms. For a while, it seemed that hosting a blog on Wordpress was enough, now it is clear that we need more than that.

If you have a blog hosted on Wordpress dot com or Tumblr, maybe it is time you make yourself heard by moving your data elsewhere. IndieWeb's own Getting Started Guide will help you out. Move away from those leeches.


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