Perplexity’s grand theft AI

Perplexity's 'answer engine' allegedly violates ethical standards, plagiarizes sources and disregards online content protections.

: Perplexity aims to create an 'answer engine' instead of a traditional search engine, but it's accused of unethical practices. It reportedly dodges paywalls and plagiarizes content, violating copyright laws and disregarding robots.txt rules. CEO Aravind Srinivas defends the use of third-party scrapers, but the company's foundation on deceit raises concerns.

Perplexity seeks to develop an 'answer engine' rather than a traditional search engine, intending to provide direct answers rather than linking to primary sources. This approach, however, has been criticized for essentially acting as a rent-seeking middleman on high-quality sources and starving original content creators of ad revenue.

Forbes caught Perplexity bypassing its paywall to summarize exclusive content without proper citation, even using copyrighted images. Wired found that Perplexity frequently ignores robots.txt files, which are supposed to prevent web crawlers from scraping content, a claim that CEO Aravind Srinivas dodged by stating reliance on third-party scrapers.

Further scrutiny revealed Perplexity's scraping practices extend across multiple platforms, with Srinivas bragging about deceptive methods to gain access to data. These actions question the integrity and ethics behind Perplexity’s 'answer engine,' potentially undermining the foundational trust of the internet. The company's reliance on unethical data gathering practices raises significant concerns about the future implications for both users and investors.