Repeat after me: Copying and pasting someone's work is called "plagiarism" http://t.co/0Ik1dPXq1O
— BuzzFeed Benny (@bennyjohnson) July 23, 2014
BuzzFeed has now confirmed that one of its editors, Benny Johnson, is having his work reviewed after being accused of plagiarizing work from other outlets including The New York Times, Wikipedia, Heritage Foundation, National Review Online, U.S. News & World Report and Yahoo! Answers.
The information came to light when two Twitter users went through Johnson’s work and found similarities and seemingly outright lifts from other published material. When responding to questions from Gawker about the charge Buzzfeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith claimed that Johnson was a “deeply original” writer.
But after a second round of plagiarism charges were made from the same Twitter users that demonstrated yet more compelling evidence of copy and paste lifts by Johnson, Smith changed his tune.
@epic_dad_quotes There are three serious instances of plagiarism in this post. We're reviewing Benny's work.
— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) July 25, 2014
BuzzFeed has become notorious for violating other content producers’ intellectual property rights. Recently the site began taking down popular posts with no explanation, leaving many to wonder whether there were requests made from content owners.
It is possible BuzzFeed may no longer work as a model if it has to comply with contemporary IP law, though the site said it has developed “new editorial standards.” Presumably among them is not to take content from other places without so much as a link or source acknowledgement.