Buzzfeed has been sued by the Russia-linked tech firm named in a dossier, which also included unconfirmed allegations against President Trump, for including “libelous, unverified” information about the company.
XBT Holdings filed the defamation lawsuit. Company attorneys allegedly filed complaints against BuzzFeed and its editor Ben Smith. A former British spy and his company were also identified in the suit.
The company is looking for an “undetermined compensation for the damages.”
A Buzzfeed spokesman announced that it redacted the identity of the business’s owner and “apologized for including it.”
The dossier reportedly stated that XBT and affiliates were “using botnets and porn traffic to transmit viruses, bugs, steal data and conduct ‘altering operations’ against the Democratic Party leadership.”
According to CNN Money, the suit also said that XBT’s owner, Alekej Gubarev, is married with children and “has found his personal and professional reputation in tatters.”
XBT did not provide details about the information included in the documents, saying the charges had not been confirmed, but BuzzFeed soon printed the 35-page dossier. However, prominent news outlets, which were following up on the story, did not report the details.
Trump and his team were quick to attack news organizations that published unsubstantiated allegations about a damaging dossier in January that Russia collected on him, an incident that demonstrates how the old rules of journalism are being tested in today’s swiftly altering media world.
Trump also referred to BuzzFeed as “a pile of garbage” for publishing the documents.
According to CNN, Trump had been briefed by intelligence officials about jeopardizing personal and financial details that Russia had collected on him.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Vice President Pence condemned those who published and spread the story. Spicer called BuzzFeed’s judgment “outrageous and highly irresponsible,” while Pence said that the media made an effort to delegitimize the election and discredit the incoming administration.
Meanwhile, Trump praised The New York Times, a paper that he’s frequently been at odds with, for its choice not to publish what it could not verify.