Sports Illustrated has reportedly been publishing articles attributed to non-existent AI-generated authors, as per a report by Futurism. The authors in question include “Drew Ortiz,” described as someone who has “spent much of his life outdoors,” and “Sora Tanaka,” noted as “a fitness guru, and loves to try different foods and drinks.”
Futurism discovered that the associated author headshots were available for purchase on an AI-generated image website. Additionally, a source involved in the creation of the content revealed that there are “a lot” of similar fake writers. While Sports Illustrated has not confirmed whether the content is AI-generated, the writing style appears to be unnatural, resembling an imitation of a product reviewer’s language.
After Futurism reached out to Sports Illustrated publisher, The Arena Group, the fake writers disappeared. Articles bearing the AI-generated writers’ bylines now carry a disclaimer: “This content is created by a 3rd party,” indicating that the Sports Illustrated editorial staff are not involved in its creation.
A similar incident occurred in October when a disclaimer appeared atop articles published by Reviewed, a consumer reviews site from the publisher Gannett. The staff at the site accused their employer of publishing obviously AI-generated content; however, Gannett spokesperson Lark-Marie Anton claimed that a third-party firm had produced the stories and that Gannett confirmed the material wasn’t AI-generated.
It seems there may be one company behind the peculiar articles on both Reviewed and Sports Illustrated. The company, AdVon Commerce, was responsible for the potentially AI-generated reviews for Gannett, as per the disclaimer that appeared on the stories. Gannett stated that it had partnered with a company called ASR Group Holdings, another name used by AdVon Commerce, as indicated by job listings. On LinkedIn, AdVon describes itself as offering “ML / AI solutions for E Commerce.”
The author page for Sports Illustrated AI writer “Sora Tanaka” lists the email address [email protected] as her contact information, which is linked to several other writers credited on websites owned by The Arena Group. Some of these individuals seem to be real people with LinkedIn profiles and claim to work at AdVon Commerce.
Efforts to reach out to AdVon and obtain clarification on their partnership with The Arena Group and the authenticity of their authors did not yield a response. The Arena Group also refrained from commenting on the matter.
It remains unclear whether AdVon is producing a large amount of AI-generated content for publishers and passing it off as human work, or if publications are simply turning a blind eye. Either way, the issue is evident and becomes a source of embarrassment when exposed.