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Ashton Kutcher’s A+ Viral Site Accused of Plagiarism

Ashton Kutcher probably wishes he was being Punk’d right about now.

The actor’s viral content site Aplus.com (stylized as A+) is being accused of plagiarizing articles from the Huffington Post, BuzzFeed and Cracked, among other outlets, the Daily Dot reports.

The online venture, which was started in 2011 and relaunched in 2013, aggregates web content, primarily listicles and popular videos and photos, to “leverage viral social storytelling to create positive change in the world.”

Kutcher, an A+ co-founder and an investor, heavily promotes the site’s content on his personal Twitter and Facebook accounts, according to the Daily Dot. The actor-turned-tech-investor also has financial ties to Skype, Flipboard and Foursquare.

The Daily Dot cites a slew of articles (screengrabbed before being removed by A+) that were either copied word for word, lifted with minor changes or reproduced without proper attribution.

The posts in question include a human interest piece titled “This Girl Was Sent Home in Tears Because Her Dress Was Too Short So Her Mom Did The Most Awesome Thing Ever,” which is comparable to a BuzzFeed article by Ryan Broderick. BuzzFeed recently fired its own political editor Benny Johnson over plagiarism charges.

Another example is the listicle “50 Awesome Tattoos Inspired By Books You Grew Up With As A Kid,” which bears a striking resemblance to Buzzfeed’s “50 Incredible Tattoos Inspired By Books From Childhood.”

“We take these allegations seriously and are looking into them,” Evan Beard of A+ told the Daily Dot in a statement. “The content that was removed was taken down as a precautionary measure. Respecting the intellectual property of others is extremely important to us.”

This includes the removal of all articles dated before July, as well as tweets from before August 6 and Facebook posts from before August 4.

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