Reddit’s recent disclosure of the Federal Trade Commission’s inquiry into the platform’s practices regarding the sale, licensing, or sharing of user posts and content for AI training has raised concerns among users and industry experts. The FTC’s interest in this area reflects the growing importance of data privacy and the ethical use of user data in the development of artificial intelligence models.

Novel Technologies and Commercial Arrangements

In its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Reddit acknowledged the novelty of the technologies involved and the commercial arrangements that have emerged in the AI industry. The company emphasized that it does not believe it has engaged in any unfair or deceptive trade practices, but the FTC’s inquiry signals a deeper examination of the ethical implications of using user data for training AI models.

Business Deals with AI Companies

Like many other social media platforms, Reddit has entered into business deals with AI companies to provide access to human-written text data for AI model training. These deals involve payments from AI companies to access user-generated content, which is then used to improve AI models’ conversational skills, question-answering abilities, and content creation capabilities. Reddit’s recent $60 million deal with Google is a prime example of this trend, with Reddit gaining access to Google’s AI models in exchange for data access.

The disclosure of the FTC inquiry comes at a critical time for Reddit as it prepares for its initial public offering. The scrutiny of its data practices raises questions about data privacy, user consent, and transparency in AI training processes. As AI technologies become more prevalent in our daily lives, ensuring that user data is used ethically and responsibly is of utmost importance.

As Reddit faces regulatory scrutiny over its data practices, other social media platforms and AI companies are likely to face similar inquiries in the future. The ethical use of user data for AI training will continue to be a hot topic in the tech industry, with regulators and users alike calling for greater transparency and accountability from companies involved in AI development. Reddit’s response to the FTC’s inquiry will set a precedent for how companies navigate the complex ethical issues surrounding data privacy and AI training.


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