TUAW makes a sad return as an AI-powered stolen content farm

The Unofficial Apple Weblog, more commonly referred to as TUAW, has made a return from the dead, almost a decade after it was closed down. Unfortunately, that’s not a good thing …

TUAW launched in 2004, and was once a popular source of Apple content. It was owned by AOL, and closed down in 2015 when the corporation decided to pull resources from its smaller web publications to focus on the bigger ones. The archives were folded into Engadget.

The domain was acquired by Yahoo, which recently sold it – without any rights to the content – to a company called Web Orange Limited (WOL). This is when things get messy.

Former contributor Christina Warren found that the company had seemingly come up with a cheap plan to repopulate it with content: just get an AI to rewrite some junk, and steal the identities of the original writers.

Some of the content was stolen from the TUAW archives, and some from current Apple sites.

Having been called out by Warren, the company simply changed her name.

Engadget reports that WOL seems to think all this is just fine.

“With a commitment to revitalize its legacy, the new team at Web Orange Limited meticulously rewrote the content from archived versions available on archive.org, ensuring the preservation of TUAW’s rich history while updating it to meet modern standards and relevance,” the site’s about page states.

TUAW doesn’t say if AI was used in those “rewrites,” but a comparison between the original archive on Engadget and the “rewritten” content on TUAW suggests that Web Orange Limited put little effort into the task. “The article ‘rewrites’ aren’t even assigned to the correct names,” Warren tells Engadget, “It has stuff for me going back to 2004. I didn’t start writing for the site until 2007.”

The company didn’t respond to a request for a comment.

Photo by Andrea De Santis on Unsplash

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