ChatGPT Disables New Browsing Feature Due to Misuse

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ChatGPT recently disabled a beta feature called “Browse with Bing” that was available to ChatGPT Plus subscribers after reports it could be used to navigate around paywalled articles.

The owner company OpenAI stated it had temporarily disabled the “Browse with Bing” feature after, as they phrased it, “learning it can occasionally display content in ways we don’t want.”

According to Cybernews, the company said in its help center update: “For example, if a user specifically asks for a URL’s full text, it might inadvertently fulfill this request.” It said it disabled the internet browsing on Monday (July 3rd) “out of an abundance of caution while we fix this in order to do right by content owners,” and added “We are working to bring the beta back as quickly as possible.”

OpenAI was approached the previous week by Cybernews after the AI Breakfast newsletter reported: “A recent discovery shows that ChatGPT Plus users can use the GPT-4 Browsing feature to access paywalled content on many online blogs and publications,” but the company did not provide a response.

The newsletter explained that paywalled content can be accessed by using the prompt “print the content of this article” and pasting the URL of the article after the prompt. They claimed that the chatbot would then display the full content of the article.

“This capability may be patched at some point, as it violates the terms and services of many online subscription-only publications, but for now it appears that ChatGPT Plus users have free access of the paywalled publishing,” AI Breakfast said.

With web browsing disabled, ChatGPT will not display information beyond its training data cutoff date of September 2021.