We, the media, failed the nation in our coverage of E-creator

Leonard Sengere Avatar

I believe that we, the media, failed the nation when it comes to E-Creator. The company knew exactly how to play us, and had us singing their praises and legitimising their scam.

Here’s some information that many of you know but some may not.

Companies often send press releases to the media, touting their latest products, services, and achievements. This is how the media learns about what companies are doing. There’s no problem with that.

However, there is a problem when the media simply accepts these press releases at face value, without doing any independent verification.

This is what happened with E-Creator. The company sent out press releases that made it sound like they were a legitimate business. The media simply parroted these press releases without doing any further investigation. Why? – for various reasons which may include:

  • eagerness to report on a success story,
  • laziness to investigate and verify the story,
  • a rush to be the first to share the story,
  • being paid to cover the story (but not even disclosing it as a sponsored post)

E-creator coverage

Once E-creator got that positive coverage, they went on to use that as proof that they were legit. Here’s how they touted this coverage in their promotional material and ’employee handbooks’.

ZTV

Image taken from ’employee handbook’ showing E-creator CEO being interviewed on Good Morning Zimbabwe on ZBC TV.

Below the picture, it says, “Live on ZTV! ….The company’s CEO 2023.3.30 has just been interviewed by ZTV

The Herald

A picture and a screenshot showing coverage of E-creator in The Herald where the title reads “New strategies to transform e-commerce”

Just above the screenshots, E-creator said “The largest newspaper in Zimbabwe, The Herald, enthusiastically reported on the work of E-creator and its future vision

The enthusiastic reporting they talk about was likely written by E-creator themselves. The article reads like marketing copy, and it does not sound like the kind of writing a Herald journalist would produce. It is possible that a Herald journalist edited the copy, but it is more likely that the article was written by E-Creator and then simply published by The Herald.

The Herald has since deleted the article. If you try to visit the link to the article, it will now take you to the Herald’s home page. But nothing is ever truly deleted from the internet so here is the article they pulled down.

NewsDay

E-creator also peacock-ed the coverage they got from NewsDay.

Screenshot of E-creator puff piece in NewsDay with the title “Harare’s e-commerce company empowers the youths”

Again this reads like something an E-creator marketing person would write, not NewsDay.

The post has since been deleted by NewsDay but you can check it out here.

E-creator only showcased coverage by these media houses because that was good enough to establish that they were legit. They were essentially saying, ‘Look, these media houses looked into us and this is what they think.’

That doesn’t mean it was only ZTV, The Herald, and NewsDay that covered E-creator positively. Many other publications did the same and for the most part, it looked like E-creator marketing copy.

As a result, many people believed E-Creator was legit and proceeded to ‘invest’. Which turned out to be a mistake as the headline below shows:

E-creator is dead, founder flees with US$1m (or so we’re being told)

Not cool, iHarare, not cool

In the aftermath of the E-Creator collapse, many media houses scrambled to quietly delete the embarrassing puff pieces they had written about the company. However, iHarare decided to go for the jugular and call Zimbabweans gullible for falling for the scam.

Is it victim-blaming? Yes, but it’s also true if we’re being honest. However, iHarare was not in a position to say Zimbabweans were gullible when they had availed their platform to E-creator to assure Zimbos that it was legit. iHarare helped legitimise E-creator and then had the nerve to call us gullible for believing their own coverage. That’s not on.

Back in June, iHarare ran a piece titled “E-creator Zimbabwe assures clients and investors of its legitimate business model

Just a few days ago when E-creator released a ridiculous statement on delayed withdrawals, iHarare ran a piece titled, “Your money is safe”: E-Creator Zimbabwe reassures investors following withdrawal delays.

Then when it hit the fan, they say “E-Creator closes down as founder flees with cash, leaves gullible Zimbabweans in tears

I believe that even if iHarare had not helped lend credibility to E-Creator, it would still have been inappropriate for them to call Zimbabweans gullible for falling for the scam. As the media, we have a responsibility to help people understand scams like these, not to make fun of them.

The E-Creator scam was a classic Ponzi scheme, and it is important for people to understand how these schemes work because it appears as if just a tiny variation of a Ponzi scheme and Zimbos think it’s the stock exchange.

The media should not be in the business of taunting people who have been scammed. Instead, we should be using our platform to educate people about these scams and how to avoid them.

Of course, as individuals, we can laugh at each other for falling for a scam. I mean, the E-Creator employees‘ arrogance had all of us waiting for the day it all went belly up just so we could say, ‘I TOLD YOU SO.’ The memes have been merciless and they should be. Maybe that way people will think twice before joining a no-risk-high-reward scheme.

But it is not the media’s place to join in the taunting. We have a responsibility to be more responsible and to use our platform to help people, not to hurt them.

Our responsibility as the media (and yours)

We, the media, have a responsibility to be more critical of the information that we report. We should not simply accept press releases at face value, we need to do our own research and ask tough questions. Otherwise, we will continue to be fooled by scammers.

Press releases do not mean the job has been done for you. They are an invitation to look into a possible story.

We are not on a high horse as Techzim here because we got this one right. No, we are all too aware of our need to do better. We’ve made massive blunders as you all know. That said, we have to call it out when someone lends credibility to a scammer and then calls us gullible for believing it as iHarare did.

We named The Herald, NewsDay and ZTV because they were used in E-Creator’s promotional materials. This is to challenge the media to be more critical of the press releases that they receive and to remember that they have platforms that can lend legitimacy to any companies they cover.

We would also like to remind the general public that even when something is covered in the media, it is important to do your own research.

We know that even we, as journalists, can sometimes miss the ball. That is why it is important for everyone to be skeptical of information that they receive, and to be willing to do their own research.

Also read:

E-creator will make some people money before it folds, shattering many – classic Ponzi scheme

,

78 comments

  1. Home Schoooled.

    You were right Techzim about E-Creator from the onset. It’s a shame that Herald, ZTV & Newsday have resorted to delete the articles, but ma screenshot tinawo kkkkkk were they heaped praises on a Ponzi Scheme as a panacea to end poverty by earning easy and quick money. Ana Madam Boss and Mama Vee also pushed people to fund E -Creator. It was way too good to be true.

    1. Isaac

      They were paid too.

      1. Comment

        Maybe someone higher up was in it…so as journalists you just write zvamapihwa even if you do the investigation you write what you have been given… Reread the herald and Newsday headlines..it shows

        1. ERNEST

          You are right that someone up there was involved.
          There is no Chinese national involved in this. It’s a local thing which was designed to raise funds.Media is in the business of promoting ugly for bribes. I know “prophets” who pay journalists to promote their projects of self enrichment

          1. N Phiri

            Why should we taunted when the media we trust, led us astray

      2. Isaac

        It takes an intellect person to identify a pyramid scheme. Vakawanda venyu makafunga kuti since ine maBusiness Documents then it must be legit. It’s just a document! No one really knows if they were legit either.

        The Zim guys will probably disappear soon and act like they’ve been duped for now.

        1. Bhunga

          Hazvimbode intellect izvi… If its too good to be true it probably is….. If You Are Offered More Than 5% return on investment its a Scam!!

        2. Isaac

          Zvinoda munhu anofunga.

  2. SK

    I always follow yoir updates theyare well researched and full of useful content

    I urge people to follow and your articles

    There is too much misinformation disinformation…… Knowledge is power… Welldone team techzim

    1. Noel Beitbridge car agent

      True

  3. El

    Makapenga techzim, you nailed it from the onset.

  4. 20

    I hardly watch zbc or read the herald
    I didn’t even know about ecreater
    Till techzim
    Question now is those were clearly paid reports
    How do we report them to the regulatory authority
    Sadly it’s not the first time
    Which also begs the question whether the big shots are involved since they have ready access to herald

    1. Dhuterere

      Continue doing the good work i first learnt that Ecreator was a scam after i read your article on Techzim and truelly believed it was a scam for real

  5. peacemaker

    You as TechZim you played your part……you warned us and we took heed.As you always do in many aspects with your analysis.Thank you so much

  6. The truth

    Lol don’t apologize… Vanoda zvemahara ngavanyure

  7. Super mario

    Herald ZTV and News day are all known for eating on the same table nembavha vakadya vese mari dzavanhu remember National FM vai advertise Koffie king or tiles hr iya yakazo tiza nemari dzavanhu

  8. Isaac

    All’s fair in love and war. Techzim, Pindula & ZimPriceCheck (and a couple more guys on Twitter) warned us several times but (in Tocky’s voice) “chete, iwewe hauudzike”… hamudi kuudzwa pamunoresva.

  9. The victim

    True. The media let us down to an extent.

    I was part of that scheme as an employee having joined 2weeks b4 it collapsed. I’d like to say i knew i was taking a risk. The one question that made all this scheme suspicious was how can i buy something and comment those comments without having received the item i bought? To me it meant that all those comments i see on alibaba and the likes are fake.
    Yes i should do my own research, but surely losing $15 was nothing than losing research money. At the same time have strategy in these schemes, we dont have to rely on then to help us quit our day to day jobs. Those who put in thousands i dont sympathise with them sorry. Thats too risky.
    However i believe hapana akaisa those figures we saw in screenshots of 1k and above. Thats just the scammers way of making us believe more give more.

    I think some of those journos were part of ecreator trying to recruit kkk.

    Now that they have been scammed i think they should go represent everyone in finding the ceo. Obviously he was employed by the scammer or he himself is the scammer. Also when we were topping up accounts that money would go to someones ecocash. Those people know.

    But anyway, there is one thing i am learning from alll this, making money is a risky business. May we all know that and apply it. Some are not selling sweets in the streets coz of defamation of character and statements like ko zvikasatengwa. My guy making money is a risk.

    Lets try again tomorrow until we get it right.

    1. Fanny

      Yes they are guys vaitoisa ma 1k coz how can Zhao make $1MUS with those $15

    2. read this and live

      you dont “make money” the only thing that”makes money” is the rbz , the rest of us EARN money , by hook or by crook , if you remember nothing else in your life, remember this: that the ordinary citizen EARNS money, ordinary citizens do not MAKE money

      1. Isaac

        Hahaha nice one

  10. Steez

    Well-done TechZim for being truthful and bold.Keep up the good work.

  11. Steez

    Well-done TechZim for being bold and truthful. Keep up the good work

  12. Larry

    When you listen to too many motivational speakers telling you about side hustles, you end up falling for anything. We’re desperate as ordinary people.

  13. Vald

    You were spot on this ponzi from day one, I tried to help my fellow twimboz and fam by sharing your analysis to save them but ended up being scorned. Perhaps it’s fate lol, but for these media houses to taunt people after they had previously legitimise the company is not fair. Like you said, they should be there to investigate and warn people not kuuya kuzoseka vanh vanyura yet they say it was an empowering.

  14. NO REMORSE FOR THE WEAK

    I loved how you clarified that you as the media can’t taunt people for being gullible , but I CAN 🤪

    1. Killmonger

      Yes yes😂😭. They laughed at us when we tried to make them see sense

  15. Kelly

    Techzim please dig more panyaya ye Engie enegies, thare was similar company in Botswana yaizi *Ecoplexus* this company scammed people akawanda vakasara vachichema

  16. The Empress

    “The Emperor has no clothes! ”… But they didn’t want to believe the truth

    You guys at Techzim straight up called it and did your best with the help of Pindula to warn the people, by loudly shouting out “ E Creator is a scam stay away!” Take your victory lap you deserve it!

    Now it’s post mortem time! Let’s see what we have learned from all this.

    First of all we can now confirm that quite a large number of Zimbabwean people are ill educated, greedy, moral less, liars!

    The Herald, The Chronicle and ZTV are so eager to present a success story of the Second Republic to “the Powers that be” that they’ll lie and straight up run an advert as a news story without blinking. And maybe pocket some busfare whilst they do?

    Newsday ah Newsday shame on you! Where did your much vaunted integrity go? Did you at least get the going rate? (30 pieces of silver)

    iHarare… Blaming the victims whilst pretending as if you never promoted E Creator in your paper! Now I have always had the opinion that this newspaper was printed on used tissue paper direct from the source and full of sh*t 💩. It’s always nice to be proven right.

    And Last but not least!
    The average people of Zimbabwe you manage to consistently disappoint! 🤦🏿‍♀️
    Now mind I’m not blaming you for falling for the scam. After all Ponzi Schemes are designed from the start to take advantage of peoples lack of knowledge and critical thinking whilst preying on their greed. And we all can see the economic situation in the country so it’s understandable. These things happen.
    No where Zimbabweans disappointed was when the Techzim article came out, the sheer number of people who came out defence of E Creator with statements like
    “… I know it’s a Ponzi but you shouldn’t let that stop you myself am making $ daily ”
    “… it doesn’t matter if its a Ponzi I made so much $ come join …”
    For ONE and a HALF Months! we saw daily the complete lack of morals shown by these people! They tried to pull in more people even when they knew it was a scam! These people gave E Creator a boost allowing it to catch a few more people in their net. If the E Creator CEO hadn’t got scared nd decided it was time to run, it’s quiet possible that E Creator would still be running!

    And now apparently law enforcement agencies of all stripes in Zimbabwe Police(Fraud) , RBZ(FIU) , Ministry of Finance (…) etc, etc have stopped “the catch and release” policy they had. Now they don’t even bother to investigate or catch anymore

    1. NO REMORSE FOR THE WEAK

      I agree with you Empress we must burn those who showed their lack of critical thinking by falling for E-creator and defending it , cursing those who called it out as a scam .

  17. D.K.

    Others may have failed, but not Techzim. There is between real money and miracle money, and real money has to be worked for. Thanks Techzim for those who managed to heed your concerns and advice when those who are “trusted” were endorsing the scam.

    1. D.K.

      There is nothing between real money and miracle money …….

  18. Noreen

    The Newsday article is still available;

    The herald article appears to have been deleted:
    https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=++%22strategies+to+transform+e-commerce%22+site%3Aherald.co.zw

    New strategies to transform e-commerce. Ivan Zhakata Herald Correspondent Zimbabwe based e-commerce entity, E-creator, is set to boost and .

    https://www.newsday.co.zw/opinion-analysis/article/200010644/harares-e-commerce-company-empowers-the-youths

    and available as a cache at waybackmachine

    https://web.archive.org/web/20230426021408/https://www.newsday.co.zw/opinion-analysis/article/200010644/harares-e-commerce-company-empowers-the-youths

  19. Peter
    1. Maidei

      Discreditable published writing live on in cache on archive platform. If you see some discreditable communication give it eternal life by asking the archives to cache them please. Its sad some journalists in Zimbabwe are now as dangerous as prostitutes

  20. Fanny

    President vakataura vakati dzidzai honest work vanhu kwete kugwavha gwavha but vanhu havanzwi still

    1. Maidei

      Which president are you referring to?

  21. Fanny

    But guys ndine question can we say Zhao anemhosva nezvakaita vanhu izvi?

  22. Money wise

    3 rules of investing, taught to me by my father 1. Never invest money you can’t afford to loose!!!
    2. Never put all you money in one basket!!
    3 if it sounds too good to be true! Take heed!! It Is Too Good To be True.

  23. Critic☠️

    @Leonard Sengere, you’re right , you failed my guy . You should’ve done more . I hope next time you write an article discouraging people from joining Ponzi schemes, no matter how compelling they may be , or , you do an article about finincial literacy because Zimbos tend to be legging in that area.
    #critic

    1. NO REMORSE FOR THE WEAK

      More like #ATTENTIONSEEKINGRETARD

  24. Jefreys Madzikatidze

    My close relative came to me begging me to join this scheme. I didn’t like the idea at all, then I became curious to know who e creator is, I did my research, thanks to techzim, you had already published a story about pyramid schemes and e creator was part of the story. Then I declined to join and my relative insisted that she will pay for me, I said fine if it is your money, that’s how I joined but fully aware that it was a scam.

    1. Isaac

      Similar to what happened to me. I told my relatives & friends (those who inquired) that it’s a scam. I even explained to them how it works but it didn’t convince them. They insisted to pay as well so they deposited some amount into my account (last Sunday). I didn’t even deposit the money into my (new) E-Creator account but rather delayed & waited patiently for the thing to crash and Thank God it did 👌🏾. I still have the money and am now using it for Hot Recharge, it’s way better than E-Creator BTW.

      1. i like fat chicks

        i got a hot recharge from a fat chick yesterday, wow it was good !

  25. Job Muhwati

    Well and elaborately explained!
    Thank you TechZim for having our backs.
    Well done and Keep it up!

  26. Fanny

    We give thanks to u Mr Sengere with the advices though vamwe vedu vasinganzwe hameno kuti vanoda kuudzwa kuti vasiyane nema scam makamira payi

    1. 1LetterV

      As life goes on we learn so many lessons. To all those who were duped by e creator just look at the bright side, you can now smell a scam from afar before it opens its stinking mouth…To those who already knew it was a scam but went on and got duped anyway well, like they say, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

  27. Octavian

    You have nothing to apologize for, Techzim.

  28. Ranga@Afroblack

    I follow Techzim on facebook.They were attacked left,right and centre when they tried to conscientise the masses about the e-creator.They pointed out one glaring factor i.e how a legit company can make a mistake on it’s name. Every normal person was aware of he dubiousness of that thing.Thank you Techzim

  29. Cde che

    I’m surprised that pple believed all those bs from e- creator. How on Earth does one earn that amount promised on a daily basis. Kkkk. Even the world biggest hedge and investment funds don’t offer such returns. I urge my fellow zimbos to read before venturing into something. Knowledge is power.

  30. Motsi Madangombe

    Anyway Zimbabweans are very educated and also foolish. They follow get rich quick schemes due to their sad situation the reason why mushroom companies like e creator rise and rise then fall like a pack of cards. These are individuals who know how to create a basic website and then so what. We are now talking about AI and Web 3. Wake up Zimbabwe.

  31. Spero Mumero

    We knew it was a scam and we knew what we were doing. It’s gumbling, you win and lose something

  32. Problem Child

    True, but as Techzim I personally think you are being modest about trying to make investors approach the startup with some caution. And you went straight to say you thought it was a pyramid scheme. It was after reading your article that I decided to hold back a little. You saved me. I was even posting your articles to my Facebook page, up to yesterday. Thank you.

  33. Scout

    E creator yakandirarisa nebhutsu hmn

    1. Fanny

      Tough my guy

  34. Farai

    Good article but I have a different view. The media’s job is to inform and it is up to the reader to investigate on their own if the news is true. With the advent of the internet, a quick google search would have given people access to different articles, some from those you have already mentioned and yours a few weeks ago which called out the e-creator for the scam that it was. I am not victim blaming, it happens to the best of us and it will happen again, but it would help if people get their guards up as newspapers are selling news, that is their business and their truth might not be our truth, not universal. Just to repeat that statement often attributed to Mark Twain (still not sure it was), “If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.” Thank you.

  35. LTM

    Brilliant and well written article.BROWN ENVELOPES and ethics flew out of the window.

  36. African Stoic

    If an investment opportunity comes up, ask what is the product or service we are selling? If there is nothing in addition to by getting 5 or 10 people on your team statement… it’s most likely a Ponzi scheme.

  37. Your friendly gossip chief

    It’s not your fault to see scams from a mile away learn from western developed countries their information on such things is like 20 years ahead of us even Zhao knew all these NPCs didn’t know about it and he went with it lmao, when you hear Zhao or Chinese Name associated with making money for Africans think again Chinese want our money only n resources.NPC just followed Zhao to the slaughter house and guess want your pork chops now 🤣🤣🤣 he eating like a king now

  38. Victor

    As for you Techzim, you did your best but I was too stupid to ignore you.

    1. Isaac

      😂 good then.

  39. Katalicious

    Pork chops 🤣🤣 to all the victims we apologize n wish you all get your head out of the hole you are in and work for your money morons they is nothing as free money whilst you are just chilling in your room uchisura hako vakamirira E-creator ikupe mari lol 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️.

  40. Shebs

    Too bad

  41. Chinese Zodiac

    Thank you ,as i still remember you have more than one article before warning people of the ponzi scam ,explaining in detail the meaning and working of ponzi scheme during the hits time of now end E Creator as for me you does your part genuinely and professionaly as a media house with people’s safety at heart ,thanks for warning about what was to come from this scheme.

  42. Bravoe

    Do you still remember how you where attacked for publishing that article about e creator ? . P

  43. Cde che

    The people failed themselves.

  44. Cyber Ghost

    I Remember a few weeks ago here on this platform,some people were really vocal about this so called E-creator thing,I Honestly recognised it as a “PATHETIC SCAM” in fact to me it was actually funny and so pathetic that I Honestly thought that it wasn’t even worth scrutinizing as far as ascertaining its legitimacy was concerned.The lesson we have all learned is like I put it a few weeks ago “To earn money you need to work hard for it,money isn’t something you can download or pursue through gambling”

  45. ERNEST

    I believe it’s a government sponsored project or it’s a project which was sponsored by those media houses.
    To believe media houses in Zimbabwe is simply risking dangerously.
    I know of prophets paying journalists to be covered positively so as to raise money in their scams of selling oils,bangles,anointed mantles etc.
    Well done Techzim for being honest on this one

  46. Mdara Odza

    A legit Network Marketing company has to have legit products that is sells to recruitees upon joining them. The company then shares the profits with its members, the more one has under their name, the more money they get. Anything the goes like “pay money to get more money later” is a classical pyramid scheme that may initially benefit a few in its infancy, then crush as many join.

  47. Twimbo

    As the proverb goes, A fool and his money are soon parted.
    If you cannot identify a pyramid scheme that is on you, we spare no sympathy for these people who “invested” in free money.

  48. Pride Mzinja

    The media now has a job to source out the ecreator responsible authorities and bring them in question…

  49. Al

    Come on guys we are Zimbos we all know how toxic the media is in this country, we should know better. Besides that i dono think that the media is to blame. The blame should lay squarely on this sick psyche we have cultivated in this country. You assume that people did no know it was a pyramid scheme, they knew , they invested with the hope of being one of the early birds and cash out quickly . The rub in this instance was that e-creator was not even a pyramid scheme it was just a plain scam. I feel the organisation iteself hides behind this pyramid scheme label, it was not it was just fraud!!!!!

  50. Anonymous

    mhata yenyu na2 everyday

  51. Throwback

    Personally i think pane vaidya nekusimbisa ECreator kana even maWitdrawals acho how come they had that amount vaitora sei,kutsikirirana for self benefit asi hama dzakanyura takatarisa

  52. Nqoba Phiri

    This is very true personally I didn’t wanted to join but after reading the booklet and seeing the interview on ZBC online I started trusting it could be true, Also the other headlines on newspapers I trusted it because I believed in our media
    But now eyy

    1. N Phiri

      Why should we taunted when the media we trust, led us astray

  53. Shylet

    But think

2023 © Techzim All rights reserved. Hosted By Cloud Unboxed