Benny Johnson, the 28-year-old Viral Politics editor at Internet leviathan BuzzFeed, came under fire from two Twitter users on Thursday for copying text from a variety of sources, including Yahoo! Answers. Today the same users, @blippoblappo and @crushingbort, provided several more instances where Johnson stole the work of others—including About.com, Wikipedia, and National Review—and passed them off as his own.
Yesterday, BuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief, Ben Smith, defended Johnson as “one of the web’s deeply original writers.”
Today, in response to questioning about the new allegations, Smith wrote, “There are three serious instances of plagiarism in this post. We’re reviewing Benny’s work.” Smith didn’t specify which instances qualified as such. Some of @blippoblappo and @crushingbort’s new examples—well worth reviewing in full—are certainly less obvious than others.
Smith declined repeated requests to clarify whether confirmed instances of plagiarism carry consequences within the company, which recently undertook a staff-wide review that targeted older posts that no longer met its updated editorial standards.
As of this writing, none of the posts singled out by @blippoblappo and @crushingbort have been updated or corrected.
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