Layoffs Are Under Way at CNET, Editor-in-Chief Steps Down

Weeks after CNET drew media attention for quietly publishing stories generated by artificial intelligence, the outlet announced layoffs of several longtime employees yesterday, representing about 10 percent of the public masthead. The move was reportedly made by Red Ventures, the private equity-backed media firm that acquired the tech news outlet three years ago. CNET editor-in-chief Connie Guglielmo will step down and transition to SVP of AI content strategy. The new editor-in-chief will be Adam Auriemma, who previously held the same position at NextAdvisor, also owned by Red Ventures.

NextAdvisor appears to have shut down; it hasn’t tweeted since January, its website now redirects to CNET, and it no longer appears on Red Ventures’ list of brands,” reports The Verge. The layoffs were announced via an internal email yesterday.

“In the email, a Red Ventures executive suggested the cuts were made to focus CNET on areas where the site can succeed at bringing in traffic on Google Search — a top priority for the company,” The Verge explains.

Carlos Angrisano, president of financial services and the CNET Group at Red Ventures, wrote “we will need to focus on how we simplify our operations and our tech stack, and also on how we invest our time and energy,” adding that they will focus on areas where CNET has “a high degree of authority, relevance, differentiation.”

“Angrisano said CNET would focus on consumer technology, home and wellness, energy, broadband, and personal finance — the sections Red Ventures could best monetize,” according to The Verge.

Support for colleagues has been rolling in since the news. In a tweet, former CNET copy editor Dawnthea Price Lisco wrote that the outlet is “being gutted for parts.”

Futurism reported in January that CNET had been publishing content for several months using AI tools without revealing the fact to readers. Reports indicated that other Red Ventures properties, such as Bankrate and, had also been using AI. CNET began adding disclaimers but then it was learned that the posts included inaccuracies — and not all AI-generated content was being labeled.

“They only care about cranking out content and don’t care about quality/editing as long as the content ranks in [search engine optimization],” a former CNET employee told Futurism. “They use AI to rewrite the intros every two weeks or so because Google likes updated content.”

“The connection between the disastrous AI-generated articles and the layoffs is unclear, but the timing is striking,” suggests Futurism in a post about the layoffs. “With this latest round of layoffs, the future of the AI-generated content — and perhaps of CNET itself — is as unclear as ever. One thing’s for sure, though: for bosses, AI is a great excuse to lay off workers.”

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