There are three constants in life: death, taxes, and the fact that people will always find less-than-ethical yet impressive ways to use new tech.

I spotted two articles in the last two days that reflect this.

AI content racking up views & dollars on TikTok

The first is this article by Jason Koebler on 404 Media, about the TikTok spammers chasing a fortune by churning out AI-generated content.

Check it out: Inside the World of TikTok Spammers and the AI Tools That Enable Them

Here’s the gist: TikTok monetises content by paying a certain amount per million views through its Creativity Program.

People have rapidly cottoned onto the fact that they can churn out mass videos using AI to game this system. These videos will often include game play footage together with weird AI-generated scripts, images, and voiceovers.

Whether or not these videos actually generate big money is kind of a moot point, because the people making the real money are those selling how-to courses to other wannabe scammers.

The result is that a few people make great money, and social media is flooded with low-quality content that the platforms can barely keep ahead of.

Search features used to spread fake contact details

This article by Shira Ovide for the Washington Post is another example of innovative scamming.

Check it out: I’m begging you not to Google for airline customer service numbers

Here’s the gist: Contact numbers are now notoriously hard to find on the websites of airlines and other customer-facing brands. So naturally, a lot of people Google the contact phone number to get human help.

The trouble is, scammers are working out how to manipulate SERP features, like Featured Snippets and People Also Ask, to display their phone number in place of the official contact number.

People call what they think is the official contact number, the scammers get their details, and the outcome isn’t pretty.

What’s the point of this story?

Well, I don’t know if there is one. It’s unnerving that both of these techniques compromise the quality of online information, but this is part of the bigger problem that comes with AI.

Frankly I find it impressive that no matter what new technology arises, it’s only a matter of time before someone finds a way to make a quick buck out of it.

Nobody innovates like a scammer!

As quickly as search engines and other platforms put new rules and tools in place to combat these issues, scammers will continue to develop new nefarious tricks. It’s honestly pretty impressive.

But perhaps the real point is this: in the midst all the garbage and confusion, high-quality and reliable content always has its place. That’s the value of building your brand’s reputation as an informational authority. Today, and even more so moving forward, trust is going to be everything.