Perplexity AI Startup Faces Backlash

Perplexity AI Startup Faces Backlash

Liliana Silva
2 min read

Perplexity Faces Backlash Over AI Content Theft Allegations

Perplexity, an AI startup acclaimed for its "answer engine," is entangled in a significant controversy over allegations of content theft, disregard for robots.txt files, and plagiarism. The company has garnered substantial investment from notable figures such as Jeff Bezos, despite these controversies, and is currently in discussions to secure additional funding worth hundreds of millions of dollars. However, the media industry has criticized Perplexity's practices, questioning the legitimacy of its answers that purportedly rely on citations from reputable sources.

In response to these controversies, Perplexity has introduced a new feature, 'Pages,' which generates personalized web pages based on user input, effectively undertaking the task of both research and composition on behalf of the users. While this feature has sparked a range of reactions, with some lauding its ability to simplify report writing, it has also amplified ethical concerns surrounding the deployment of AI in content creation.

Perplexity's aspirations to contend with Google in the search engine domain have been overshadowed by mounting ethical dilemmas and the ongoing discourse concerning the responsible utilization of AI technology.

Key Takeaways

  • Accusations of content theft and plagiarism have been leveled against Perplexity AI.
  • Perplexity is committed to challenging Google with its unique "answer engine" rather than a traditional search engine.
  • The company has secured funding from prominent investors, including Jeff Bezos, and is exploring additional funding amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • Media entities have expressed frustration with Perplexity's disregard for paywalls and robots.txt files, heightening the backlash.


Perplexity's ethical missteps could deter prospective investors and strain its relationships with publishers, thereby impacting its standing in the market. This backlash underlines broader apprehensions about AI ethics and content ownership, potentially prompting regulatory scrutiny. In the short term, Perplexity is likely to face legal challenges and reputational damage, posing potential hurdles in its funding endeavors. In the long run, the company must prioritize the ethical usage of AI to sustain its growth and effectively compete with established players like Google.

Did You Know?

  • Robots.txt Files:
    • robots.txt is a standard employed by websites to communicate with web crawlers and other web robots, specifying which parts of the website should not be accessed by the robots. It serves primarily to prevent overloading a website with requests, rather than preventing a web page from being indexed by Google. Consequently, violations of robots.txt can be interpreted as disregarding the website owner's preferences regarding the crawling and indexing of their content.
  • AI-Generated Blog Posts:
    • AI-generated blog posts pertain to content produced by AI algorithms without human intervention. These posts are typically generated based on datasets and can mimic human writing styles to a certain extent. The deployment of this technology raises ethical concerns about the originality and authenticity of the content, as well as potential copyright issues.
  • Multi-Billion Dollar Valuation:
    • A multi-billion dollar valuation denotes the estimated value of a company amounting to billions of dollars. Such valuations are usually determined during funding rounds when investors agree to purchase equity at a specific price per share, eventually contributing to a multi-billion dollar valuation. These valuations generally signify high growth expectations and substantial market potential.

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