×

HuffPost Shuts Down Unpaid Contributor Blogger Program

The Huffington Post announced that it will immediately cease its unpaid contributors program — which led to its rise as a media brand — to improve the editorial quality of the news site and cut down on unvetted reporting.

HuffPost’s blogger network has ballooned to some 100,000 contributors. The decision to end the program by the Verizon-owned site comes under editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen, who joined in December 2016 after more than a decade at the New York Times.

“Open platforms that once seemed radically democratizing now threaten, with the tsunami of false information we all face daily, to undermine democracy,” Polgreen wrote in a blog post Thursday. “When everyone has a megaphone, no one can be heard.”

Also Thursday, HuffPost launched a new opinion section, with regular columnists and commissioned contributors, and HuffPost Personal, which will feature first-person essays by guest writers, as well as features, Q&As and interviews written by staff reporters covering celebs, newsmakers and regular people.

AOL acquired HuffPost in 2011 for $315 million, and then Verizon bought AOL in a $4.4 billion deal in 2015. HuffPost is now part of Verizon’s Oath division, which has combined AOL and Yahoo businesses under one roof.

In 2016, Arianna Huffington left her namesake online publication to focus on her new company, health and well-being startup Thrive Global.

Early on, critics of the site — which launched in 2005 — had complained about HuffPost’s network of unpaid contributors and its practice of “aggregating” other news organizations’ reporting. But in recent years Huffington Post also assembled large staff of journalists doing original reporting. In 2012, the site won a Pulitzer Prize for a series on wounded veterans and their families.

Polgreen, in her blog post, said numerous notable personalities have blogged on HuffPost, including then-presidential candidate Barack Obama and Jennifer Aniston writing about body-shamers.

Ultimately, HuffPost’s sprawling contributor network simply became more trouble than it was worth. For example, an unknown party paid a Pakistani national to publish a piece on HuffPost last month defending Donald Trump business associate Felix Sater, whose tax-fraud charges were dismissed. The post has since been deleted.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Elite Season 2

    San Sebastian: Spain’s SVOD Players Debate Competition, Brand, Talent

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Executives from HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Movistar+ and “Elite” co-creator Darío Madrona took to the stage to field questions on the Global Impact of Spanish Series. Here, briefly, are five takeaways: 1.Spain First “La Casa de Papel” was watched by 34,355,956 Netflix accounts over its first seven days,  after a July 19 [...]

  • Tinder - Swipe Night

    Tinder's Apocalyptic 'Swipe Night' Interactive Dating Show Sets Release Date

    Tinder next month will bow its first original entertainment content — “Swipe Night,” an interactive adventure series in which viewers are forced to make dating choices on humanity’s last night on Earth. Variety previously reported details of the location-based social network/dating app service’s foray into original content, which recently wrapped production in Mexico City and [...]

  • Editorial Use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    YouTube Rolls Back Verification Changes, Says Verified Creators Can Keep Their Badge

    A day after announcing significant changes to its verification program, YouTube announced Friday afternoon that it won’t be de-verifying existing creators after all. “We heard loud and clear how much the badge means to you,” said YouTube product manager Jonathan McPhie in a blog post. “Channels that already have the verification badge will now keep it [...]

  • BLive: BitTorrent Live Streaming App to

    BitTorrent to Launch Public Beta of New Live Streaming App

    BitTorrent is getting ready to open the floodgates for its new live streaming app, dubbed BitTorrent Live: The company plans to launch a BitTorrent Live Android app on various app stores as part of a public beta test late Friday, according to a spokesperson. BitTorrent Live, which is also known as BLive, is being described [...]

  • Netflix - Apple TV

    Netflix Stock Drops After CEO Acknowledges 'Tough Competition' Coming From Disney, Apple

    Netflix shares fell as much as 7% Friday to a nine-month low, coming after CEO Reed Hastings commented that the November launches of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus will introduce a “whole new world” of competition. Hastings, speaking at the Royal Television Society conference Friday in Cambridge, England, said, “While we’ve been competing with [...]

  • Facebook

    Facebook Suspends Tens of Thousands of Apps During Privacy Investigation

    Facebook has suspended tens of thousands of apps ever since it began investigating potential privacy abuses, the company said Friday. The apps in question had been built by around 400 developers, and a suspension doesn’t necessarily indicate actual privacy violations. Facebook began combing through millions of apps that made use of its platform after the [...]

  • tivo logo

    Tivo Plans to Launch Android TV Dongle, Tivo+ Curation App

    DVR maker Tivo is getting ready to release a new device that may not record television at all: The company plans to launch a $50 Roku-like TV dongle early next year, its new CEO Dave Shull revealed in a conversation with CNN this week. The new device will be powered by Google’s Android TV platform, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content