I first saw the news from 404media that Automattic was going to start selling user content to AI companies looking for data. As with most media companies, 404 failed to make the distinction between Automattic/WordPress.com and WordPress.org the open source software.

Then I read this post about protecting user choice from Automattic which is big on promises but short on anything to trust. They’ll “respect all opt-out settings”, but the fact that it’s opt-out instead of opt-in should tell you everything you need to know. If they were really preserving user privacy the post would say it’s opt-in and if you want to share your content with AI companies you have to take a step to make that happen.

Most people would have no incentive to share their content with AI companies though so they’d never check the box to share it so Automattic wouldn’t have as much attractive content to sell AI companies. That would mean Automattic would have to share some of that sweet AI money with sites that let their content be processed. Maybe sites that don’t pay for any type of hosting on WordPress.com wouldn’t get any share of the pie because Automattic is hosting them for free?

Overall, I’ve continued to become less happy with Automattic and WordPress.com. Unfortunately that spills over to my work with the open source WordPress.org as the CEO of Automattic is also heavily involved with the software he co-founded.

I’ve found Matt at least minorly problematic since the capital_P_dangit issue back in 2010 but tried to stay off the radar as Matt has been fairly vindictive if you stick your head up in opposition to him. Just check out the fact that Matt directed Automattic to get the domain name of a theme company he didn’t like just to tell them screw you.

More recently, as in last week, Matt had a public meltdown while on sabbatical about a moderation issue with trans content. I know trans people that worked for Automattic, and they didn’t seem that surprised by Matt’s conduct unfortunately.

Personally, I had to field questions from a dozen customers who know we run WordPress about what this AI thing they heard about meant. I expected this and already had a canned email to send, but still that was wasted time because Automattic is going after big AI money.

I love many of the people I know in the WordPress community. I know people that work at Automattic, and they’re awesome people. I wouldn’t have the time to sit and write, or the ability to leave work at 2pm every day to be with my kids, if it wasn’t for my experience with WordPress that lets me run 80+ city websites.

But I see that advertising myself as a WordPress expert may not be such a big selling feature with clients going forward as Matt and Automattic keep heading down the stupid path that they seem to be headed down.

One response to “Automattic WordPress.com and AI”

  1. Joe Crawford Avatar

    The latest news in tech has been excitement about reports that Automattic has the intent to sell Tumblr and WordPress.com website data (read that as…