Behind the Paywall

This might be wrong, but at least it is free

By Andreas Refsgaard and Matt Visco

But why?

When paywalls exist, one option is to seek out alternative news. Alternative news is at higher risk of being compromised by fraud. It’s less vetted and more freely manipulated. This is already done by humans, why not machines.

How does it work?

The project consists of a Google Chrome extension that is activated when it discovers an article hiding paywall on the When a paywall is detected, a button appears on screen that enables the visitor to create an AI generated continuation of the article.

What did we learn?

Our GPT-2 model was fine-tuned using a dataset of The New York Times articles from April-June 2016 and the original GPT-2 model was released in 2019. These older datasets tend to bias the machine towards a potentially outdated perspective of major events and public figures. For example, in 2016 Joe Biden is still vice president in the USA, COVID-19 does not yet exist, the value of BitCoin is a small fraction of the current price, and the relationship between Hong Kong and mainland China is on more stable ground. This bias may result in the generated articles reflecting an outdated or alternative worldview.

Can I try this myself?

Yes! Install the plugin in Google Chrome and try it out!


Hito Steyerl, ‘Politics of Post-Representation’, Dis-Magazine, 2014:



Artist writing sloppy code 🦥

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store