Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that the company will be extending its partnership with OpenAI, bring Bing Search to ChatGPT and addressing the chatbot's biggest Achilles Heel in the process. The new Bing Plugin, albeit limited to ChatGPT Plus users, allowed the chatbot to access the internet and pull the latest information on various topics. This was in conjunction with the Bing AI which was announced in February and is available to Bing users.
However, it looks like ChatGPT Plus users are taking advantage of the integration to bypass paywalls to access locked data and articles for free. This was first spotted by folks at r/ChatGPT who noted that the chatbot was letting them access articles that are usually blocked by a paywall.
This was quickly noted by the OpenAI team who has now suspended the Bing integration to prevent users from bypassing paywalls. The team behind ChatGPT confirmed the change on Twitter noting that they are working on a fix for the issue.
We've learned that ChatGPT's "Browse" beta can occasionally display content in ways we don't want, e.g. if a user specifically asks for a URL's full text, it may inadvertently fulfill this request. We are disabling Browse while we fix this—want to do right by content owners.— OpenAI (@OpenAI) July 4, 2023
OpenAI has also updated its FAQ page to reflect the change and has noted the following:
As of July 3, 2023, we’ve disabled the Browse with Bing beta feature out of an abundance of caution while we fix this in order to do right by content owners. We are working to bring the beta back as quickly as possible, and appreciate your understanding!
This issue seems to be with ChatGPT and how it processes data as trying the same on Bing AI yields no success. Bing AI is quick to remind that it cannot provide the full article and asks the user to open the link and read it themselves.
Unfortunately, the team has not given any clarity on when the feature will be back for ChatGPT Plus users. Moreover, it is also not clear how the team plans to patch this issue as the Bing Plugin seems to be accessing the cached version of the article, thereby bypassing the paywall.