In the wake of Wikileaks’ Vault 7 revelations, Buzzfeed has been caught by Wikileaks publishing false claims purportedly made by Apple that it had “patched the vulnerabilities mentioned in the Wikileaks dump of CIA cyber tools.” Wikileaks tweeted that Apple had not fixed any newly discovered vulnerabilities, labelling the claim “fake news.”
Buzzfeed’s phrasing misleadingly encouraged an assumption that Apple had stated all of the vulnerabilities exposed by Vault 7 had been patched. However, the statement by Apple does not claim total coverage. In Buzzfeed’s own article Apple states: “…our initial analysis indicates that many of the issues leaked today were already patched in the latest iOS…” Apple’s claim merely stated that some of the exploits used by the CIA had been addressed in the event that they were organically discovered.
The factually inaccurate claim comes on the heels of Buzzfeed’s disastrous January 2017 report claiming to have a dossier proving that the Russian government held blackmail on Donald Trump. The dossier was immediately labeled as falsified by Wikileaks based on the inaccurate style, facts and dates contained in the report. The Atlantic also ran a report where Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, denied that he had ever been to either the Czech Republic or to Russia as the “dossier” published by Buzzfeed claimed.
Buzzfeed’s financial records reveal special interest sources of funding and close ties to leading figures in the DNC that further call into question the organization’s dedication to journalistic integrity. Buzzfeed received a $1,500,000 donation in August and September 2016 from Priorities USA Action. Priorities USA Action lists George Soros as one of their main donors. DNC propaganda chief David Brock also sat on the board of Priorities USA Action until 2015, when he resigned in the wake of a New York Times article which called into question Brock’s ties to DNC donor Mary Pat Bonner.
Buzzfeed’s ties to George Soros and other leading DNC figures raise concerns about their commitment to fair and unbiased journalism. Their willingness to run inaccurate information about Wikileaks releases and embarrassment after featuring falsified documents as evidence of political wrongdoing demonstrates that the organization is willing to place agenda before factual reporting. This willingness will likely only create further issues for Buzzfeed, as it and other press groups struggle in the midst of an all time low in public trust of the media.