After World of Buzz got banned by Reddit, one of their former writers exposed their editorial policies, letting us see how things were being done behind the scenes.
World of Buzz : Who Are They?
World of Buzz claims to be Malaysia’s no. 1 social news website. It is basically a content farm, reposting content scraped from social media websites.
World of Buzz may not be as bad as The Coverage Bureau (which is notorious for reposting old news!), but they are still pretty notorious for their scraped content.
World of Buzz : Editorial Policies Exposed By Former Writer!
After they got banned for a month on Reddit, one of their former writers wrote an expose on what really goes on behind the scenes.
The writer was a former intern who worked there for four months, and shared evidence to back up his/her claim :
- official documents
- a campaign brief
- emails with the founder
- employment / onboarding emails
This was what the former intern / writer shared on Reddit :
I was a former intern for 4 months in World of Buzz and am here to spill the tea on this heaping pile of crap they call a “news publication”.
Without revealing too much (am using a throw away account because I am afraid that somebody from Influasia lurking in this sub might be able to pinpoint who I am with my main account), I was a, so called, “content creator”. Only problem is I didn’t create content, I stole them. I was ordered by the bosses to basically rip off whatever I can find on Facebook in the morning when I reach the office.
Obviously, I didn’t join World of Buzz for its Pulitzer Prize winning news reporting. But I never knew how bad their ethics were until the first day I stepped into the office. On the first minute on the job, I was immediately told that I had a strict KPI to follow, 3-5 articles a day, and 1 video per day if you’re a video editor. If you remotely know how news reporting and video production works, you’ll know that this is practically impossible. Hence, why so many articles they publish are basically rip-offs of some other news source. The bosses didn’t care about validity and truth, all they cared was views and revenue.
Many people like to pin the blame on the writer for the shoddy articles, but I assure you, none of it is their fault. I know for a fact that all of my former colleagues are passionate writers and journalists, they just got conned into joining a dodgy company who promised them freedom and creativity over their work, but was in fact nothing more than a copypasta blog. There was a period that many of my former colleagues stood against the unethical ways of reporting but to no avail, they were already duped into signing an employment contract and if you can’t hit your daily quota, you’ll be constantly ridiculed by the bosses for being inefficient and be constantly reviewed on a weekly basis.
Hence, why my colleagues, once a passionate journalist, turn to summarizing and rephrasing news articles from Facebook. I mean, the bosses and readers didn’t care. They just wanted to get the job done and leave the shitty work place. I remember that there was a really slow news week, all of the writers barely had anything to cover, we constantly pulled all nighters for the whole week (without OT), scouring the bottom of the barrel just for content to hit the daily quota, coming in dead tired the next day just to repeat the cycle all over again, but what do we get for our hard-work? A complaint for writing “boring” articles. It was truly hell. For the short 4-months I was there, about all of the writers of World of Buzz left or was about to leave, half of Lobak Merah’s writers left, and the lead of Noodou left. They had rather pay the exorbitant penalties just to get out of the contract rather than staying in the company.
The bosses often liked to remind us that our job was a luxury, we didn’t need to run around town like real reporters, and all we had to do was rip off articles. But for us passionate writers, we rather be under the hot sun covering real news, discovering something new and sharing it with fellow Malaysians. But what do the bosses know, they are nothing more than bunch of rich kids who don’t care about news, took their parents money, started a copy-pasta blog, registered it and called it a “media company”.
Some of you may think “Biasalah, all Malaysian work place and bosses is like this punya.” But let me remind you, the people accused of such a thing are the few Malaysians who made it into Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2019. Praised for their creativity and silicon valley-like administration.
I heard that since my departure, workplace culture has improved tremendously, but the culture of plagiarism and sensationalising issues still seems like the norm here. When you see World of Buzz, don’t click into it, don’t read it, it’s not worth your time. Punish the company with your indifference to its existence.
World of Buzz : We Made Them Big
This is the ugly secret of the online media industry – content creation is HARD WORK.
It takes mere minutes to read an article, but that article would have taken the writer several hours to write. And that’s not even counting the hours spent in research and fact checking during the writing process.
Unfortunately, people have shorter and shorter attention spans. The world is moving away from serious, in-depth pieces to short, easy-to-understand blurbs.
And with proliferation of websites all targeting the same number of eyeballs, the only way to grab our attention is to introduce shocking or scandalous articles, and LOTS OF THEM.
Why? Because many websites do not get paid a single cent unless you click on the advertisements in their articles or videos.
To be profitable, websites need to churn out a prodigious amount of content in the shortest possible time. And the easiest and cheapest way to do that is to regurgitate (copy and paste) social media content.
Ultimately, we readers created content regurgitating monsters like World of Buzz, by making it profitable to just regurgitate, instead of creating, content.
So if we want things to change – we have to stop being so superficial. Stop reading and sharing posts from media regurgitation websites, and start supporting websites that actually create content.
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