In 2012 my former Slate colleague Farhad Manjoo revealed that several of BuzzFeed’s most popular listicles were lifted in large part from other websites, including Reddit. In the years since, the site has been hit with lawsuits and public accusations from people who feel it has exploited or flat-out stolen their work. Last month the site fired staff writer Benny Johnson after a pair of sharp-eyed bloggers documented several instances of evident plagiarism; for example, a U.S. politics quiz whose answers appeared to be partly copied and pasted from Wikipedia.
The latest backlash came this week when Gawker’s J.K. Trotter reported that more than 4,000 old BuzzFeed posts seem to have simply disappeared from the site. The discovery came as Trotter was following up on a July post in which he revealed that at least four posts, including three by senior editor Matt Stopera, had mysteriously vanished. —Slate