CNET staffers are unionizing, and they’re naming their employer’s use of AI as a key reason why — a timely reminder that even as generative AI tech raises billions in funding and threatens to upend entire industries, it’s already causing a very real human impact among workers. And now, they’re fighting back. “In terms of AI initiatives and media workers, we’re not alone in this issue,” a CNET union representative told us. “We’re joining a lot of others in the media who are looking into how to address AI in relation to plagiarism, liability and the impact to the workforce.” Back in January, it emerged that the Red Ventures-owned CNET had been quietly publishing AI-generated stories under the vague byline “CNET Money.” In response, CNET issued assurances that all its CNET Money-bylined stories, though produced with AI, had been fact-checked by human editors; examined closely, however, it turned out that many of the articles contained fairly egregious errors and even apparent plagiarism. The media fallout to the AI news was swift, and according to data from SimilarWeb, CNET’s traffic has subsequently plummeted. It also started to look like a move of desperation by Red Ventures, which hit CNET’s staff with brutal layoffs in the wake of the scandal. But cut to a few months later, and in the midst of the fallout, CNET journalists are working with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) East to form a CNET Media Workers Union (CMWU.) “In this time of instability,” reads the CMWU’s mission statement, “our diverse…CNET Staff Unionize, Saying AI Use "Threatens Our Jobs and Reputations"