Cloudflare Enters the AI Data-scraping Fray

Last week, Cloudflare took to its blog to outline a new feature.

Declare your AIndependence: block AI bots, scrapers and crawlers with a single click.

As I read the post, I found it most interesting that so many customers have made it clear to Cloudflare that they have no interest in letting AI tools use their website content to train large language models. I hadn’t given it much thought, but I also don’t run ads or use my blogs as a side hustle like many others do. It’s easy for me to be uncaring about whether some information I share is being used to respond to someone’s AI prompts without linking to the site. I might feel differently if I depended on traffic to make this endeavor profitable.

Then again, blogging is a way to make a name for yourself online. If AI tools use the content without identifying the author, maybe that diminishes our ability to do that. Or maybe it’s just gross to share information without crediting the source. (Hint – it is. AI companies don’t care, though. We can’t convince them based on that argument because they’ve already done that.)

I’m not a Cloudflare user; my hosting provider has another tool for similar content delivery features. However, if I were, I might think about blocking AI spiders because it’s easy. I don’t think it’s important enough to spend much time figuring out how to do it now, but I can understand why so many people would feel differently.

Cloudflare seems to be responding well to its customers. Kudos to them for making this available for customers who want it.

What’s your take? Are you blocking AI bots? Are you concerned about content theft, or is it fair use?

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