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Of gorillas, cliches and attribution


Weight limit: 800 lbs. (Matt Cardy/GETTY IMAGES)

In a Jan. 3 United Press International column titled “Youth Bulge,” de Borchgrave included this passage:

Facebook is the global 900-pound gorilla of social media networks. It reaches 55 percent of the world’s global audience, accounting for roughly 75 percent of time spent on social networking sites. That’s one in every seven minutes spent online all over the world (comScore’s 10/11 data indicate).

Virzi’s ClickZ.com a week earlier had posted an item titled “10 Social Media 2011 Highlights (Data Included),” featuring this passage:

Facebook remains the global 900-pound gorilla of social media networks. Facebook reached 55 percent of the world’s global audience accounting for roughly 75 percent of time spent on social networking sites and one in every seven minutes spent online globally according to comScore’s October 2011 data.

Virzi finds plenty of fault with de Borchgrave, not to mention a little with her own people:

Using unique phrases from another author can bring you grief. De Borchgrave’s sin: borrowing the phrase “900-pound gorilla” from ClickZ. It’s a cliché that’s not quite right since gorillas are typically 800 pounds. And it should have been avoided by both de Borchgrave and ClickZ alike.

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