The Desk appreciates the support of readers who purchase products or services through links on our website. Learn more...

FTC launches probe over ChatGPT, citing consumer harm

(Stock image)
(Stock image)

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has launched an investigation against OpenAI’s machine learning tool ChatGPT over concerns that the product may be causing consumer harm by perpetuating false information about individuals.

The 20-page civil subpoena made public on Thursday says the FTC is probing whether OpenAI allowed ChatGPT to engage in “unfair or deceptive practices relating to risks of harm to consumers, including reputational harm.”

The subpoena orders OpenAI to furnish documents to the FTC connected with the tool, including how it minimizes the potential that ChatGPT might “generate statements about real individuals that are false, misleading or disparaging.”

This week, the FTC’s Chairperson, Lina Khan, said she heard complaints “where people’s sensitive information is showing up in response to an inquiry from somebody else.”

“We’ve heard about libel, defamatory statements, flatly untrue things that are emerging,” Khan said during a House Judiciary Hearing. “That’s the type of fraud and deception that we are concerned about.”

OpenAI and the FTC have declined to comment on the subpoena. Microsoft is one of the biggest financial investors in OpenAI, having made a $1 billion commitment to the firm in 2019. Since last year, ChatGPT has been integrated in various Microsoft products, including its Bing search engine, with plans to incorporate it into other consumer and enterprise tools in the future.

Get stories like these in your inbox, plus free breaking news alerts on business and policy matters involving media and tech.

Get stories like these in your inbox, plus free breaking news alerts on business and policy matters involving media and tech.

Photo of author

About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
Home » News » Industries » Technology » FTC launches probe over ChatGPT, citing consumer harm