ChatGPT web browsing feature disabled after bypassing paywalls

OpenAI has temporarily disabled ChatGPT’s ability to search the web to augment its responses after users discovered it allowed them to access content behind website paywalls.

ChatGPT first gave ChatGPT Plus subscribers the ability to search the Internet via Microsoft’s Bing search engine through a browser in late May 2023.

To use “Browse with Bing,” ChatGPT web users had to install an official plugin.

The feature was expanded to ChatGPT Plus subscribers on the mobile app last week.

Since then, several users have discovered the browsing feature allows retrieving the full text published at some URLs.

That could include content like news articles which might be locked behind a paywall.

OpenAI decided to disable the feature from Monday, 3 July 2023m out of an “abundance of caution” and to ensure it did right by content owners.

“We have learned that the ChatGPT Browse beta can occasionally display content in ways we don’t want,” the company said in a statement.

OpenAI said it was working to bring the feature back “as quickly as possible”.

Without Internet browsing capability, ChatGPT can only provide responses based on data available on the Internet before September 2021.

However, OpenAI’s exclusive use of Microsoft’s Bing search engine has also raised concerns about potentially feeding ChatGPT with biased content and false information.

A 2019 Stanford study showed that Bing’s top search results included an “alarming” amount of disinformation and misinformation.

Now read: Microsoft Office’s Clippy assistant returns — with the power of ChatGPT

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ChatGPT web browsing feature disabled after bypassing paywalls