9GAG Is A Repost Machine

On: September 12, 2012
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About Daan Smith
I am a general content mangager at the company Round Games based in Amsterdam, with a BA in Media & Culture. At this job I am currently working on different sites/blogs and providing them with (new, fresh) content. Also, I make sure the Social Media that go along with these sites (twitter, facebook, pinterest, etc.) have high levels of conversion. I am following the Master's programme in order to combine my practice skills with (the latest) theories.


9GAG is no ordinary user-generated content machine, it’s a repost machine. You could actually call it Reddit Light. But is that really a concern?

90% percent of 9GAG posts are reposts from Reddit. How am I so sure of this? A couple of days ago a user on Reddit named 9FAG_EXPERT presented some results. Taking his name into account I already suspected that the outcome of this investigation wasn’t really in the favor of 9GAG. Reddit users seem to have a big hate against 9GAG (users). Read more about the history of the two site here. To come short, Reddit users often accuse 9GAG users from ‘stealing’ their content.

The most important thing that I want to point out here is that people are accusing, in this case communities against communities, other people from ‘stealing’ and thus pretending or indirectly assume that the stolen content from their community is, or was, ‘original’. Before this Reddit/9GAG debate Reddit was often accused by 4Chan for stealing ‘their’ content. Read more about it here. So the notion is stealing is quite relative. For now, let’s go back to the Reddit/9GAG debate.

One of the observations & facts from 9FAG_Expert is that:

9GAG does indeed steal submissions from other sites every day. Sometimes up to 90% of the Hot or Trending page are reposts from reddit, their main source.

Later on this is followed by:

when 9GAG steals a submission (from reddit), they rename the title and remove watermarks.

The user concludes that the renaming/removing part proves that real people are stealing ‘our’ content. 9GAG is concealing the stealing by faking submission times. The following story explains this very well.

First you got this post, 9 days ago already, but when the article of 9FAG_Expert was created it was 22 hours ago the picture of the Socially Fabulous Penguin was posted. While 23 hours ago at that time, 9GAG came up with the exact same picture. In this example it seems like it was posted on 9GAG before Reddit. But it’s just a witty trick from the 9GAG Administration. The submission number (check out the last two digits in the URL) from this article is smaller than that of the Socially Fabulous Penguin . When we look at the submission times we see that the ..41 article was posted 17 hours ago, while the ..43 article was posted 23 hours ago. This is simply impossible, or as the average 9GAG user might say: Impossibru.

The fact that 9GAG tries to hide their theft is important here. Why don’t they direct to all kinds of sites and just saying they are a platform were you can watch a massive collection of the latest/best stuff on the internet? Apparently, pretending that you have original content is worth all of this stealing. Finally the 9Fag_Expert concludes with the following two messages for 9GAG.

Either 9GAG stops stealing content from other sites using their evil system they have developed over time and leaves the content creation to their user base


they will make it even harder to detect stolen content, add more protection mechanisms and cover their tracks even better.

So what is your opinion? Should 9GAG stop exploiting their ‘evil system’ and use a more user-generated content system. Or is twisting and turning content just a bit and presenting it as ‘fresh’ sufficient?




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