Nothing new here. They created a fake persona to drown out the negatives for some dude who was in jail. Misdirection at it's finest. This is just one strategy, but doesn't always work, especially for someone who is innocent or is getting dragged through the mud for some fake ass bullshit, but actually needs their personal info to show up correct.
There's much easier and cheaper ways to get rid of negatives if you know what you're doing.
The best method and whats used for all the 2nd tier sites is plain old pay for play. This won't work for newspapers or magazines but for all the other bottom feeder review/complaint sites its about $$$$$$.
Just finished the article. LOL the outting that takes place is god tier. Some of the tactics they are labeling as shady is just basic common sense shit.
A very long long long time ago I wrote an ORM guide at Wickedfire that talks about creating fake personas within the cities of the people that have problematic reputation online. It was called " Online Reputation Management - Hacker Style", it was published 10-05-2012.
Something to note about people talked about in the BuzzFeed article: Brandon Hopkins is a friend and did a blog post at SERPWoo and is a former member of WF. Another note TheHoth is a former Wickedfire member.
All the strategies mentioned above were in that WickedFire Enlightened thread... Buzzfeed is like 7 years too late on this strategy if they are just getting around to it now. Here is an excerpt if the "Getting Lost In The Noise" technique: