BBC News-bait

BBC Newsbeat aimed “to provoke conversation with tweet about Ukrainian prankster Vitalii Sediuk’s alleged sexual assault of reality TV star Kim Kardashian

Last week, BBC Newsbeat – the flagship news programme on BBC Radio 1 – tweeted the following apparently rhetorical question regarding Ukrainian prankster” Vitalii Sediuk’s alleged sexual assault of US television personality Kim Kardashian:

bbc-newsbeat-29-september-2016-tweet

Newsbeat was roundly criticized for using “clickbait rhetorical questions as headlines and “legitimizing an indefensible POV, as award-winning English author Joanne Harris (MBE) charged in a series of tweets.

joanne-harris-tweet-2

I put Harris’ valid questions to Newsbeat, along with my own question asking if there’s any ambiguity around whether it’s “OK to grab a woman on the street, prank or not.

Today, I received the following reply.

Hi Dean,

Thanks for contacting us about the Kim Kardashian tweet.

We accept it could have been worded more carefully.

We swiftly followed it up with a second tweet, headed “obviously not”.

Broadly our tone is more informal than the rest of BBC News but we do aim to provoke conversation around topical issues like this one.

We were not in any way legitimising the “prank” carried out by Vitalii Sediuk.

Kind regards,

Newsbeat team

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9GAG on This

Clickbait website 9GAG lifts automated content from popular social networking website Reddit

For producers of “clickbait,” Reddit – the self-titled “front page of the Internet” and 27th most popular website in the world – is a treasure trove of copy-and-paste-friendly content.

Without getting swamped by copyright issues, the reason clickbait websites such as 9GAG presume to be able to borrow content from Reddit without permission is that the content on Reddit is a. user-generated and b. often consists of little more than a photo-with-caption.

In the words of Stephin Merritt, “some of it is just transcendental, some of it is just really dumb.” Then there’s this 9GAG head-scratcher:

9GAG Stolen Content

9GAG seemingly reposted this strange photo-with-caption from a stranger-still sub-section of Reddit called SubredditSimulator, which comes advertised as “a fully-automated subreddit that generates random submissions and comments.”

Note that the above photo has been watermarked “via 9gag.com.”

If the purpose of “clickbait” is to get clicks, lifting content from Reddit is a quick and inexpensive way of doing so. A caveat: if you’re not clever enough to produce your own content, at least make sure you can distinguish actual content from automated gibberish.

Big thanks to Kelsi Michelle White for prompting this post.