Notice of Article Removal

Note of Removal & Apology

Date: September 2, 2014 • Posted By: Trend Hunter Editor Team Please note that this writing portfolio has been removed as we discovered plagiarism in the writer's content. Although we had previously published the name of the writer, we are assured that she is building a career that is not in the writing industry and based on her apologies, we have decided to anonymize her portfolio. In short, we learned too late that we had published articles where the writer had lifted sentences, and even stole full paragraphs, word for word, from other bloggers and publications.

We would like to apologize to our readers and those sites the writer copied. Plagiarism is upsetting and shows little respect for the work of honest writers and trusting readers. Our editing staff is extremely disappointed that the plagiarism went undetected for so long and that our Toronto social media team had given her editorial access to the site, allowing her to publish articles without full oversight.

Actions Taken With The Writer
We had no choice but to end her freelance writing contract, and have removed all her blog posts, which had been published to Trend Hunter. Her portfolio, mostly fashion blogging, was previously on this page and has been removed. We made the choice to remove every article because it was too difficult to understand which of articles might be original and which articles were plagiarized.

How The Writer's Plagiarism Went Undetected
The writer was a freelance Toronto writer in our home city who we knew and considered to be a friend. That in itself explains the higher level of trust that we had in her writing. However, typically, all of our writers are subject to our automated copyright scans, friends included.

Her writing bypassed our scans because we had rewarded her with an "editorial status", which effectively meant that she could set her own articles to publish on our front page. For us, awarding this status is rare, and something we have only done with Toronto writers who are in our consideration for full time positions as editors. Needless to say we were too quick to grant her this status, assuming her quality work was her own, when in fact, she had been lifting well-written sentences from other people.

Unfortunately, editorial status meant that she had an open door to publish other people's work. Our freelance writing contract with her was an open contract allowing her to write as much as she would like, invoicing us per article. Effectively, this meant she could write a lot of content, invoicing us for copying and pasting. When discovered, she admitted that she had been copying 'a lot' but the story ends there.

Summary
For us, this incident is disappointing. Plagiarism can be difficult to detect, particularly for a crowdsourced publication with thousands of writers. In the past, we've always screened content from 'writers', but we haven't applied the same level of scrutiny to the handful of people who have editors access to the site.

We have taken this as a lesson, creating new checks and balances.
• We have begun a proactive review of all of our writers, even our trusted and established editors.
• We built new robotic scanners that are more sophisticated at identifying copied phrases
• We are instituting new policies regarding who can be awarded with editorial status, all to avoid situations like her plagiarism
• We have removed the portfolio and all of her articles, regardless of whether or not they were original or copied.
• We will do our best to re-write some of the removed articles, with proper credit, of course.