Squarespace Users Stir Over AI Data Opt-Out Setting

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Squarespace setting page with toggles for turning off search engine and AI crawlers
Squarespace has an opt-out toggle in Settings for AI crawlers, but users want more transparency.
  • Recent revelations have sparked a debate among Squarespace users about the platform’s default settings for AI data training and the implications for content creators.
  • Squarespace’s AI opt-out feature highlights the growing need for user-centric digital rights and content protection in the evolving AI landscape.

Squarespace, the popular website builder, has found itself at the center of a user privacy conversation. It was recently brought to light that, by default, all Squarespace websites contribute content to AI data training sets, a feature unknown to many of its users. This default setting effectively allows AI tools to scrape text and images from users’ sites to train AI models, such as language generators like ChatGPT. While there is a feature to opt-out, many users said they were unaware of this.

The Discovery and Backlash

The feature came to the public’s attention through a Twitter user, CindyLouWho2, igniting concerns among the platform’s user base. Content creators on Squarespace expressed their unease, feeling that the default opt-in was misleading. “It’s very shady that you opted in all of your users to accept AI content scraping,” voiced one user, highlighting a sentiment shared by many that Squarespace should have been more transparent.

Squarespace's Response

Responding swiftly, Squarespace clarified its stance via its official Twitter account. The company stated, “AI models currently train on all public web data … This feature is not actively opting you in, but instead offers you the option to opt-out.”

Find Out More 

  • What’s Squarespace like as a website builder? Read our full Squarespace Review for our rundown of its pros and cons.

The Feature in Question

At the heart of the issue is a setting within Squarespace that allows users to hide their website from AI crawlers—a feature not enabled by default. This has led to a call for Squarespace to reconsider its approach and potentially set the feature to opt-out as standard practice, prioritizing user content protection.

A Call for Transparency

As of now, many Squarespace users remain unaware of their ability to stop their content from being used by AI. Advocates argue that not only should this feature be more visible, but it should also be a default setting, especially considering the slow pace of AI regulation globally.

Find Out More: AI in Website Building

Quick Guide: Opting Out

For users wishing to take action, Squarespace offers the option to opt-out of AI data training. This can be done by:

  • Accessing the Settings panel
  • Clicking on Crawlers
  • Toggling off the switch for Artificial Intelligence crawlers.

This proactive step ensures your site content remains exclusive to your visitors and not part of AI training datasets.

Summary: Disabling AI Crawlers

The discussion around Squarespace’s opt-out setting raises important questions about user consent and data privacy in the age of AI. While the platform offers a way to shield content from AI crawlers, the debate underscores the need for greater transparency and user control in the digital content ecosystem.

Written by:
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I joined the Website Builder Expert writing team in 2023. With a decade of writing experience, I really love helping brands and small businesses, with a talent for making seemingly dull topics fun and engaging. My aim is to get you feeling confident about marketing your business so it can achieve success. Having a background in advertising has given me a unique lens through which to view topics. I love turning tricky subjects – like website security certificates and crafting a customer journey map – into easy-to-understand pieces of content that capture attention whether you're reading at home or browsing while out and about.

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