"False claims that President Joe Biden fell asleep during a moment of silence for victims of the Maui wildfire. A conspiracy theory that the latest surge in Covid-19 cases is being orchestrated by the Democratic Party ahead of the election. An obituary for a late NBA player that described him as “useless.”
These false and bizarre stories aren’t showing up on some far-flung corner of the internet — they’re being published by Microsoft. The company’s homepage, also known as MSN.com and Microsoft Start, remains one of the world’s most trafficked websites and a place where millions of Americans get their news every day.
But Microsoft’s decision to increasingly rely on the use of automation and artificial intelligence over human editors to curate its homepage appears to be behind the site’s recent amplification of false and bizarre stories, people familiar with how the site works told CNN.
The site, which comes pre-loaded as the default start page on devices running Microsoft software, including on Microsoft’s latest “Edge” browser, the successor of the company’s Internet Explorer browser, employed more than 800 editors in 2018 to help select and curate news stories shown to millions of readers around the world.
But in recent years Microsoft has laid off editors, some of whom were told they were being replaced by “automation,” what they understand to be AI."