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CNET Lays Off 10% of Staff Just Weeks After Launching Articles Written by AI

The site will lean into SEO-friendly content meant to capture Google search

CNET is laying off roughly 10% of its editorial staff – around a dozen people, including longtime veterans of the media and reviews website – just weeks after acknowledging it has started using artificial intelligence programs to write certain articles, the Verge reported Thursday. 

Additionally, Connie Guglielmo, CNET editor-in-chief, will vacate her role to become senior vice president of AI content strategy and editor-at-large, the Verge reported, citing people familiar with the situation who shared a draft of a CNET blog post about the matter. Adam Auriemma will take over the editor-in-chief role; he comes from the apparently defunct NextAdvisor, also owned by the parent company of CNET, Red Ventures.

The layoffs went into effect on Thursday morning, the Verge reported, and were announced by Red Ventures, which bought CNET in 2020. The internal memo said CNET will focus on a top priority for the company – obtaining traffic through Google search.

It also said CNET’s content will focus on areas where it has the most “authority” – a priority for Google and SEO – like consumer tech, broadband and personal finance. CNET monetizes articles via signups for things like loans and credit cards.

In January, CNET modified some of its bylines to remove the word “staff” from AI-generated articles. For example, CNET had published AI-generated explainer articles bylined as “CNET Money Staff” but has since changed those to “CNET Money.” 

CNET reportedly began experimenting with AI-generated content at the end of last year.