Ten Questions for Matt Mullenweg Re: Data Ownership and AI

Dear Matt. 404 Media tells me you’re in the process of selling access to the data I’ve published on and Tumblr to the AI companies OpenAI and Midjourney and that I have to actively opt-out if I don’t want my data included.

I have ten questions for you regarding this that I think most of your users would also like to hear your answers to:

The Ten Questions

  1. Why do users have to opt-out of sharing their data with AI companies? This assumes most users agree to share their content with AI services. What data and/or reasoning backs up this assumption?
  2. Who gets the revenues from this data sharing, and how much are those revenues? Specifically, are creators being compensated for their data being sold to a third party?
  3. Who decides on behalf of abandoned sites or sites whose creators are no longer with us? Not everyone has the capability of opting out. Who speaks on their behalf and protects their interests?
  4. How were the affected users consulted on this? And what was their feedback?
  5. What professionals were consulted, and what did they say? Did you consult with legal? Did you consult with your ethics officer (I’m assuming you have one)? Who else were involved in this decision?
  6. How does selling this data line up with your open source principle of users owning their own content? Who do you believe own and have the right to profit from user content hosted on your platforms?
  7. Is the data being sold only from free sites, or does it also include sites the user pays you to host on your platform? If the latter, how do you justify “double-dipping” in the revenue stream?
  8. Why do you believe this is the right decision to make on behalf of your users? And how do you respond to those who say it is not?
  9. How did you pick these commercial AI companies over open source alternatives? Reporting indicates you are in talks with OpenAI and Midjourney. Neither is open source.
  10. Why should we trust you with our data going forward? See The Five Questions of Tony Benn.

Please respond with a post of your own and link it back here.

Best regards,


By Morten Rand-Hendriksen

Morten Rand-Hendriksen is a Senior Staff Instructor at LinkedIn Learning (formerly specializing in AI, bleeding edge web technologies, and the intersection between technology and humanity. He also occasionally teaches at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. He is a popular conference and workshop speaker on all things tech ethics, AI, web technologies, and open source.