GPTBot and how to restrict access

Find out more about OpenAI's web robot, GPTBot, and how to restrict or limit its access to your website content.

OpenAI has launched GPTBot, a new web robot designed to enhance future artificial intelligence models such as GPT-4 and the future GPT-5.

How GPTBot works

Recognizable by the user agent token and the complete user agent string, this system explores the web in search of data that can improve the accuracy, capabilities and security of AI technology.

According to reports, it should strictly filter all sources restricted by a paywall, sources in violation of OpenAI policies or those collecting personally identifiable information.

The use of GPTBot can potentially offer significant support to AI models.

By giving it access to your site, you contribute to this pool of data, improving the whole AI ecosystem.

However, this is not a universal scenario. OpenAI has given web administrators the power to decide whether or not to grant GPTBot access to their websites.

Restrict access to GPTBot

If website owners wish to restrict GPTBot access to their site, they can modify their robots.txt file.

By including the following, they can prevent GPTBot from accessing their entire website.

On the other hand, those who wish to grant partial access can customize which directories GPTBot can access. To do this, add the following to the robots.txt file.

As for GPTBot's technical operations, all requests to websites come from IP address ranges documented on the OpenAI website. This detail brings additional transparency and clarity to web administrators regarding the source of traffic to their sites.

Allowing or disallowing the GPTBot web robot could have a significant impact on your site's data privacy, security and contribution to the advancement of AI.

Legal and ethical concerns

The latest OpenAI news has sparked a debate on Hacker News about the ethics and legality of using mined web data to train proprietary AI systems.

GPTBot identifies itself, allowing web administrators to block it via robots.txt, but some argue that there's no advantage in allowing it. 

Unlike search engine spiders, which generate traffic. A major concern is the use of copyrighted content without attribution. ChatGPT does not currently cite its sources.

There are also questions about how GPTBot handles licensed images, videos, music and other multimedia content found on websites. If these media are used for model training, this could constitute copyright infringement. 

Some experts believe that data generated by the indexing robot could degrade models if AI-generated content is fed back into the training.

Conversely, some believe that OpenAI has the right to freely use public web data, comparing this to a person learning from online content. However, others argue that OpenAI should share the profits if it monetizes web data for commercial purposes.


Overall, GPTBot has opened up complex debates around ownership, fair use and incentives for web content creators. While compliance with robots.txt is a positive step, transparency is still lacking.

The tech community is wondering how its data will be used as AI products rapidly advance.

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