Buzzfeed under scrutiny for plagiarism and uncredited photographs
By SHAMA DOSHI
The most popular internet craze currently seems to be the viral website Buzzfeed. It is best known for articles written in the form of lists and silly quizzes such as “What Kind of Eyebrows Should You Have.” However, what people may not know, unfortunately, is that Buzzfeed continually steals content from other sources without giving them proper credit.
According to the Buzzfeed website, which was launched by Founder and CEO Jonah Peretti in 2006, the website was, “an experimental lab that focused on tracking viral content and making things people wanted to share.” Now, nearly eight years later, it seems that Peretti’s goal has been achieved, as Buzzfeed articles themselves are viral content and shared wildly across social media.
Adrien Chen, in his article for Gawker.com, “Buzzfeed and the Plagiarism Problem,” reveals that many of the articles featured on Buzzfeed, “are highly derivative rip-offs from other sites, cleaned up and reproduced without crediting their sources.” Chen goes on to relate how a closer look at the Buzzfeed archives revealed that they are “filled with passages copied from other outlets with no credit.”
An example of plagiarism that Chen provides is of Buzzfeed’s lists of movie facts, many of which were copy and pasted from the IMDB trivia section without any credit given. This is a problem because without giving the source, there is nothing to indicate that the facts given are not the author’s own words.
Another article, written by Philip Bump for The Wire, discusses Buzzfeed’s offenses even further. Bump discusses how Buzzfeed plagiarizes an uncomfortable amount of its material from discussion threads on Reddit. In Buzzfeed’s popular list article, “The 30 Happiest Facts of All Time,” apparently out of the 30 facts “22 are lifted, nearly word-for-word, from Reddit users.”
Not only does Buzzfeed steal the information they use, they have also been accused of not properly sourcing their photographic content. According to The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed’s list article “18 Everyday Products You’ve Been Using Wrong” used a copyrighted photograph taken by freelancer Dan Catt without asking permission.
These various instances of plagiarism committed by Buzzfeed offer an alarming glance at the direction in which online journalism is heading. Even though the site has been continually caught for plagiarism, Buzzfeed writers continue to steal content from Reddit and other websites.
It does not seem ethical that millions of people are now reading their news in the form of trivial lists of stolen content. There is nothing substantial about the widely popular articles published on Buzzfeed, which are filled with both unoriginal and useless information. Additionally, the people reading such articles have no idea where this information is coming from.
People need to stop supporting this unethical website and stop spreading Buzzfeed content. There are countless credible sources for news and information, and Buzzfeed is definitely not one of them.