Oh how the turntables…

Hi wonderful people of WeHeartIt,

We uncovered something recently and we felt it was our job to tell you, the people of WeHeartIt. WHITheRevolution is known to hold WeHeartIt as an app and the WHI Team accountable for their actions. We’re also known to keep its users updated on important app developments and everything in between because we believe the users of this app have a right to know what’s happening on the site that would otherwise be brushed under the rug by the WHI Team. This fits exactly in that description.

As a brief introduction for context, in Summer 2017, Articles was released as a function on WeHeartIt. Users could write down and share their thoughts, recipes, poetry, music playlists, or information on whatever you can think of. A bit later, Recognized Writers were introduced, which were users who had managed to claim a badge on their profile by their inspiring articles. We say “their” but this was not always the case.

You see, the issue with people writing articles and posting them on their accounts is that there is no plagiarism check that confirms whether people’s articles are actually theirs. People’s articles could be passed off as their own when in reality they may just be plucked from all corners of the internet. Sometimes whole articles would be copied and pasted and sometimes it would be little parts from here and there.

We want to note here that these are rare exceptions; the standard WHI article is not plagiarized; however, some are. Even some Recognized Writers (yes, plural) attained their badge by plagiarizing one or many of their articles. This has since been resolved; some users have lost their badges and/or had their accounts blocked because of this and the message “Remember, be original! Do not copy articles from other users or from the web.” was placed on the article-writing page.

A little later in the second half of 2018, the Writers Team was introduced and people with Recognized Writers badges would either join this team or lose their badges. (This is in contrast to the start of the Recognized Writers program where the badges were promised to stay on profiles forever - but that’s a different story). The Writers Team was a select team of WHI users, who were unpaid but signed legally binding contracts to write for WHI, wrote Articles, and they were published on the @/WeHeartIt_Editor account. A little more than a year later, the Writers Team was informally disbanded as well. Since then, Team WeHeartIt has been pumping out their own articles on the official @/teamweheartit account with millions of followers. Furthermore, they have been promoting their articles by showing 4 of them on the Discover page (on desktop) to add insult to injury. This makes what we’re going to say even more awkward...

because we found out that the official WeHeartIt Team has been copying some of their articles from the Internet. Not all of them, but definitely some of them, which is more than enough to point out their hypocrisy. While yes, it can be argued that it was the old, original WeHeartIt Team that put the “Remember, be original!” message on the Articles draft page and the team writing these articles now is a totally different team, that doesn’t excuse the fact that a team of fully grown adults are copying articles found on the Internet, especially considering the big audience that it can have influence on PLUS the fact that the WHI Team should set a good example of what type of articles users should write.

Specifically speaking, they have been copying recipes, even as definitions or explanations of things which is kind of logical, as most of the people working at Weheartit Headquarters most likely majored in Media, English, went to Clownschool idk and did not invent these recipes or definitions.

Very important to note here is that technically speaking, it’s very much a gray area whether what the current Weheartit Team has been doing is plagiarism. Recipes and the like are not protected by US law as you can see here:
https://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2015/03/24/recipes-copyright-and-plagiarism/

As that article says, “mere listings of ingredients” cannot be protected (while there are some exceptions like the Coca Cola recipe). However, according to https://www.copyrightlaws.com/copyright-protection-recipes/ , text or photos accompanying the listings of ingredients can be copyrighted. The text would be the part where a recipe tells you the instructions how to cook or make something.
Then another article says another thing: https://legalvision.com.au/i-run-a-recipe-blog-what-do-i-need-to-know-about-copyright-protection/ they mention that the instruction parts of a recipe is not copyrighted either, unless the original owner has written the instructions in own words. They also say that pictures of the dish are copyrighted.

So this means that:

  • Ingredient lists are not copyrighted
  • Instructions for making the thing/dish is a gray area
  • Accompanied photos are copyrighted

As for the definitions/explanations of things, it’s a gray area as well. Sometimes things simply cannot be explained in other ways.

While most of the copied parts are technically speaking not plagiarism as recipes are not protected by US law, it would be nice if they should credit the original writer, as shown in one of the examples you will see below. It would set a good example for everyone on Weheartit that credit is important and should be put where credit is due.

Here are some examples of evidence:

From the “Level Up Your "Taco Tuesday" Game,” which is why we found this in the first place:

WHI article:

Image by L U E U R ❋

The original article:

Image by L U E U R ❋
Image by L U E U R ❋

As you can see, the picture WHI used is the same, the ingredients are exactly the same and so is the full recipe.

Link to the original recipe if you want to check it out
https://blog.williams-sonoma.com/roasted-butternut-squash-spinach-black-bean-tacos/


Another one from the Taco Tuesday article:

WHI article:

Image by L U E U R ❋
Image by L U E U R ❋

Original article:

Image by L U E U R ❋
Image by L U E U R ❋

Link to original text: https://www.brit.co/take-your-taco-tuesday-to-india-with-this-chicken-tikka-masala-naan-hack/

Same picture as the original, same ingredients list. You can tell that in the original, the Mint Yoghurt Dressing is a separate thing from the Veggie Salsa (new heading), but this is just copied in the WHI article. And apparently whoever edits these articles didn’t check twice whether they copied the whole-ass recipe twice (you can see below the red line, the recipe is repeated), and put it behind one another without a second glance. …. ooof


Let’s move on to another article!

This is from their “Hot Drinks From Around The World To Keep You Cozy This Holiday” article. For whatever reason, they decided to put the ingredient lists as pictures instead of text, but we still managed to find the original.

WHI article:

Image by L U E U R ❋

Original article:

Image by L U E U R ❋

Link to original text: https://www.isabeleats.com/mexican-hot-chocolate/


Another one: “Budget Babe: DIY Gifts Your Friends Will Obsess Over.” This article is also filled with recipes, but not for food. Instead, it’s DIYs with art projects that makes us wonder what the WHI Team writers think their general audience has stocked in their homes (“Sculpey Gloss Glaze,” various Swarovski crystals, “crumbled dried rose petals”), but continuing….

WHI article:

Image by L U E U R ❋

Original article:

Image by L U E U R ❋
Image by L U E U R ❋
Image by L U E U R ❋

Next one! This is from “Dieted, Exercised, Weight Lost, Pooch Still There....HELP!”. At the bottom, they provide a relatively in depth explanation of Fish Oil. It’s very likely that this was not written by a WHI employee of course. Instead it is… paraphrased from Wikipedia! Not the full definition is copied but you can tell it’s from this source. Also the very last bolded part that’s like "NO! WHI users, this is just ADVICE, please seek help lalala". It makes them seem so caring and the fact that they used the word “article” tricks you into believing this was actually written by the WHI people! Wrong again, it’s a very common disclaimer, most likely the word “content” has just been replaced with “article”.

WHI article:

Image by 𝑎𝑑𝑣𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑒 💫

Wikipedia:

Image by 𝑎𝑑𝑣𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑒 💫

We also came across this article:

Image by L U E U R ❋

The thing about this article is that they DID put credit in there. Did you see the “via playswellwithbutter?” That link leads to the original source! They did this with the other recipes in the article too. So apparently they are perfectly able to give credit, but why don’t they just do this everywhere?


These are only some of the articles that we found and realized were copied. There could be more that we don’t know about; these are just some of their more recent articles that we came across. The point was to bring awareness to the fact that yes, they have in fact done this before multiple times and seemed to get away with it the entire time.

So in conclusion:

meme, reaction pictures, and funny image

Love, #WHITheRevolution

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P.S. If you want to read more about what happened to the Recognized Writers and the Writer’s Team, check out these articles for more information: