World Of Buzz (WOB), seemingly every Gen Z’s favourite “news” portal, has come under heavy fire in recent weeks and while some may be surprised, others will say it’s long overdue. The self proclaimed #1 social news site in Malaysia made headlines last week when it was announced that they would be banned from the Malaysia subreddit for a month.
So, what exactly did they do to get banned on the sub in the first place?
Well, according to the announcement on the sub, WOB violated Reddit’s self-promotion policy by planting articles on a throwaway account and then subsequently creating even more throwaways to push positive opinions. You can read the announcement below:
It didn’t end there though. With Reddit bringing attention to WOB’s um, “journalistic” practices, a former employee of the company took to the social media platform to shed some light on what it’s like to work there. Needless to say, it didn’t exactly paint the company in the most positive of lights.
So just to recap, WOB were called out by Reddit for basically cheating to boost their numbers. And then a former intern of four months (who has the documents to prove it) called them out for basically ripping off and plagiarising “news” articles as well as cultivating a toxic work culture.
Of course, WOB had to respond to these allegations as well as the blanket ban from Reddit. While it took em a week or so, they’ve finally “addressed” the issue and in the form of a four minute video that’s just downright painful to watch.
First of all, notice the simple setup and lack of any sort of background colour or visual? It’s almost like as if they went up to their video guy and were like:
“We’re going to make a video addressing the issue but we don’t intend to apologise or actually address anything but we do want it to scream solemnity, earnestness and that we understand the “gravity” of the situation. Can?”
“Ok cool. I still don’t see it being sincere though. Maybe if one of you could start cryi-“
“Say no more.”
That being said, this is a serious matter, and putting out a video to explain themselves is a great first step. The problem is that’s about as far as they go. The video is four minutes long but not once in the video do they actually properly address anything.
In the first 20 seconds they set the tone for how the entire video is going to be by establishing that only some of the things said really go against what they believe and stand for. Perhaps I shouldn’t have expected more from the remaining 3 minutes and 40 seconds but hey a guy can hope.
Michelle, one of the co-founders continues by addressing workplace culture and environment, and you can tell she’s really affected by it.
She claims to have always had the teams best interest at heart before actually making it seem like compensating employees fairly when they work overtime and on public holidays is a big deal. You see Michelle the thing is, it’s not. It’s kinda what you’re supposed to do.
To be fair to WOB though, in the second post on reddit, it is acknowledged that the work culture at the company has significantly improved so maybe Michelle somewhat has a point, albeit a rather blunt one.
Chris, the other co-founder then starts with what I can only assume is his justification for churning out plagiarised content by claiming that the focus is on rapid growth and that they’re constantly chasing timelines and wanting to achieve milestones and bla bla bla.
He then sort of addresses the issue by admitting that there may be certain occasions where they’ve overlooked certain things and that it may have fallen through the cracks, but that’s really about it. Without saying sorry, he ensured that steps are being taken so that these things are being addressed.
What are these things bro? Address it la!
I could go on and on but this is starting to become a really long article. My point here is that not once did WOB address allegations of plagiarism, nor did they apologise for it.
All they did was give excuses such as “a lot of companies are under heavy pressure to quickly churn out articles” and deny that they’ve ever created fake news just to get views, but what about planting articles and upvoting them on Reddit using throwaway accounts?
It gets worse when Michelle points out the silver lining to all of this is that it’s given them the chance to “step back” and look at their processes and the media landscape as a whole before asserting that this is practice in a lot of media companies, not only locally but also internationally.
First, they don’t apologise. Then, they give excuses for their behaviour and now they’re saying “oh btw other companies do it too but we no longer want to be part of this problem anymore.”
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, I don’t know what they’re smoking but I might want some for when I’m not working and don’t have to use my brain.
What do you guys think of the video? Let us know in the comments.