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Amazon is reviewing whether Perplexity AI improperly scraped online content

Amazon is reviewing whether Perplexity AI improperly scraped online content
People are reflected in a window of a hotel at the Davos Promenade in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 15, 2024. The artificial intelligence startup Perplexity AI has raised tens of millions of dollars from the likes of Jeff Bezos and other prominent tech investors for its mission to rival Google in the business of searching for information. Credit: AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File

Amazon is reviewing claims that the artificial intelligence startup Perplexity AI is scraping content—including from prominent news sites—without approval.

Amazon spokesperson Samantha Mayowa confirmed Friday that the tech giant was assessing information it received from the news outlet WIRED, which published an investigation earlier this month that said Perplexity appeared to scrape content from websites that had prohibited access from such practices. Perplexity uses servers by Amazon Web Services, otherwise known as AWS.

Amazon's "terms of service prohibit abusive and and our customers are responsible for complying with those terms," Mayowa said in a prepared statement. "We routinely receive reports of alleged abuse from a variety of sources and engage our customers to understand those reports."

Perplexity spokesperson Sara Platnick said Friday that the company had determined that Perplexity-controlled services are not crawling websites in any way that violates AWS terms of service.

The San Francisco-based AI search startup has been a darling of prominent tech investors, including heavy hitters such as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. But in the past few weeks, the company has found itself in hot water amid accusations of plagiarism.

Perplexity CEO Aravind Srinivas has offered a robust defense of the startup after it published a summarized news story with information and similar wording to a Forbes investigative story. It did so without citing the media outlet or asking for its permission. Forbes later said it found similar "knock-off" stories lifted from other publications.

Separately, The Associated Press found another Perplexity product invented fake quotes from real people.

Srinivas said in an AP interview earlier this month that his company "never ripped off content from anybody. Our engine is not training on anyone else's content," in part because the company is simply aggregating what other companies' AI systems generate.

But, he added, "It was accurately pointed out by Forbes that they preferred a more prominent highlighting of the source." He said sources are now highlighted more prominently.

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