BuzzFeed confronts Weibo about fake account

Chinese BuzzFeed

Fake BuzzFeed

The original BuzzFeed

The original BuzzFeed

A Weibo account using the same name and logo as BuzzFeed has prompted the social news and entertainment brand to approach the Chinese social network to inquire about its legitimacy.

The replica Weibo account, which has not been verified by the social network, has more than 111,000 followers.

BuzzFeed has made Weibo aware of the replica account, but the company’s international VP Scott Lamb, who was in Hong Kong for the World Association of Newspapers’ Publish Asia event last week, told Mumbrella that the situation “can easily be resolved”.

“We don’t know who is behind the site. We have reached out to Weibo to look into it, and they have responded positively,” Lamb told Mumbrella.

Weibo told Mumbrella that as it is not a verified account, it cannot be defined as fake, but is looking into the matter. The social network is looking at whether the replica page is using BuzzFeed’s content without prior approval and if Buzzfeed has received complaints from users.

Fake BuzzFeed account

The fake BuzzFeed account on Weibo

Lamb said he was impressed by the appetite for BuzzFeed-style content in China going by the popularity of the replica account, which is still live.

“I don’t think it’s a major situation,” he said. “It can be resolved fairly easily, or we can create our own new account. More than anything it is  exciting to see that our sort of content works in China, and that our brand is known in China.”

Lamb said BuzzFeed has been experimenting with Weibo to monitor the response to its articles on the platform. The company has staff who translate its content into Chinese.

The news comes as BuzzFeed ramps up its plans to open offices in Japan and India, with foreign language versions expected to roll out by the end of the year.

The company is considering opening a regional base in Singapore or Hong Kong, potentially moving in a sales and editorial team, Lamb said.

Last month, Lamb told Mumbrella that Singapore would probably be the next launch destination for BuzzFeed, but was mindful of the strict regulations for high-traffic websites that report on Singapore.

“Realistically, [the next launch in Asia] will be Singapore, as it’s the place I have some working knowledge of. It also has a very friendly business climate,” he said.


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