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Hey, ScoopWhoop! Stop Using Pictures Of Women Without Their Consent On Your Website

More often than not, online media houses tend to breach the line between going viral and going stupid. More often than not, that line is breached by ScoopWhoop.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that the website known for its ’10 things’ type of articles is under fire again for breaching social and professional ethics.

ScoopWhoop has had a history to produce content which has the propensity to go viral. Mostly, this content comprises of rather dumb and childish themes with listicles and visual imagery being a heavy influence. And in times where even dumb content is put under the scanner of the public eye just as much as smart content, ScoopWhoop fails to pass the litmus test.

Time after time, it has breached corporate and social ethics where it failed to give credits to the content which is either not produced by its own employees (copied and un-credited Quora threads on their website), image credits (more on that later, in detail) and even content styles by other media houses (well, they copied one of ours so there you go).

When we talk about giving image credits or asking for permission for a particular image to be used, ScoopWhoop has gone and outdone itself in a totally opposite direction.

The problem here is two-fold:

#1. ScoopWhoop used the pictures of multiple women (picked up from their Twitter profiles) without their permission for its article on stupid Twitter trends (which it thinks are rather smart but okay) such as #NosePinTwitter and #BindiTwitter, where it goes ahead and prove that this website will do anything to fuel its views.

#2. The very idea that SW (short form for the website) engages in such shallow and materialistic content, fails to reinvent when push comes to shove and then tries to be a pro-feminist website, only to fall flat on is own face is a dangerous loop of hypocrisy.

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Looking at problem #1, we found out that it’s not just me who feels aggravated at the blatant lack of ethics by SW but it’s also the women whose pictures have been used without their consent and knowledge. And boy, oh boy. They’ve called out this practice with some thoughtful insight.

“If you use the pictures of 20-odd girls picked up from their Twitter profiles, prepare to get called out. I for one, am not okay knowing the fact that my picture is being used as a thumbnail to help your website get more views and traction. Secondly, using someone’s pictures without their consent on online media inherently shows a breach of privacy of the said individual, even if it’s used to highlight a positive cause, case in point being the apparent #BindiTwitter article by ScoopWhoop. Lastly, I’d never want to associate myself to a brand which promotes shallow and conventional beauty standards on online platforms.”, says Sukhnidh Kaur who’s a famous youth activist for the LGBTQ community when she found out about her pictures being used without her consent by ScoopWhoop.

ScoopWhoop isn’t the only one breaching social ethics, BuzzFeed has done the same

The same article caught the attention of Sukhnidh’s sister, famous youth author and poet Harnidh Kaur, who tweeted her displeasure and disgust about the same and highlighted ScoopWhoop’s problematic social ethics over property usage and breach of privacy.

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This goes ahead and shows that even if the content is subjective to interpretation (good or bad), the ethics used to develop that content are of the lowest order and need to be corrected.

Now looking at problem #2, ScoopWhoop’s inherent pseudo-liberal ideology comes to show its hypocrisy, where it wishes to be open-minded and innovative as a website but has failed to do so to such an extent, that it had to shut down its news division because it wasn’t generating enough traction.

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As per a detailed report by The Caravan Magazine which focused on ScoopWhoop’s troublesome practices, the report highlighted that ScoopWhoop’s CEO Sattvik Mishra confirmed that their division which undertook political issues and current affairs has been ceased and the company had fired 10-12 people because that particular section on the website wasn’t generating as much profit as compared to their entertainment section.

Although it has been claimed that there is no investor pressure behind this move and if we go ahead and believe this, it only further emphasizes the website’s weakness to engage in content which is productive and has the ability to influence readers on a holistic level rather than a vehemently materialistic one.

The same report by The Caravan Magazine further emphasized on ScoopWhoop’s shady internal problems in their editorial department, where one of their (now ex) editors Anuja Jaiman (formerly associated with the likes of Reuters and HT) resigned from the company after highlighting the company’s nature of only doing the sort of content which can go viral. She further talked about how ScoopWhoop never provides any sort of image credits or sources while using content from other sites or people.

Not only this, ScoopWhoop has come under massive fire for posting stories which have the tendency to incite hate (with headlines such as “I Came To Kill Hindus. There Is Fun In Doing This,” Says Captured Pakistani Terrorist) and stories which were downright insensitive (posting an article about the probable thoughts one might’ve had during the Nepal earthquake, later removed with an apology). These stories had been strongly condemned by people like Anuja Jaiman and the inability of ScoopWhoop to do sensible stories with proper ethical conduct was a major reason of her resignation.

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Following is a quote from her resignation:

“How is it okay to use images without permissions, how is it okay to not source back? How are there spelling mistakes in every second story that is being published by main? How is okay to duplicate stories day in and out and then run them on an FB page that has a whopping number of readers, to compare with stories that barely make it to that page?”

Another infamous example of their lack of social ethics was highlighted when ScoopWhoop tried to get a Facebook page banned for stealing their meme whereas it later turned out that it wasn’t ScoopWhoop’s original meme to begin with. Well, kudos.

But then again, to some extent, I’m okay with all the hoopla of ScoopWhoop doing entertainment heavy and not sensible content. Hey, sure. One brand can only have one USP. And SW does dumb and viral-style content, okay. But breaching someone’s privacy and jeopardizing your website’s integrity by copying and plagiarizing content is not the best way to go about it.

If you do content which highlights Rupi Kaur’s picture with period blood stains on one side and then you take up pictures of conventionally good looking women without their consent on the other, I’m not sure which brand of feminism and corporate ethics you wish to endorse via your hypocritical standards.

Get your shit together, ScoopWhoop. And while you’re at it, at least publicly acknowledge that you copied our SixED content style.

Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: The Caravan, The Economic Times, Office Chai + more

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