BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith Admits He ‘Inappropriately’ Deleted Posts


Over the past couple of months, at least two posts were mysteriously deleted from BuzzFeed shortly after they went up on the site, with no explanation. One was about how Monopoly is “the worst game in the world,” and the other called Dove’s latest ad campaign “condescending” to women. Now, after Gawker’s J.K. Trotter accused the site of spiking stories that criticized its advertisers, such as Dove parent company Unilever, BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith has issued an explanation and reinstated the stories in question.

Smith tweeted this message Friday afternoon, which included an email he sent to his staff:

In his memo, Smith admitted that he should not have deleted the posts, but said the decision concerned “the place of personal opinion pieces” on BuzzFeed and denied that there was any “advertiser pressure” involved.

He also pointed out that the following editorial update had been added to both posts:

This post was inappropriately deleted amid an ongoing conversation about how and when to publish personal opinion pieces on BuzzFeed. The deletion was in violation of our editorial standards and the post has been reinstated.

On Thursday, Smith tweeted out this note from two of his editors, summing up the site’s policy on “hot takes”:

But as some readers have been noting on Twitter, the alleged no opinion policy is hardly in evidence across much of BuzzFeed’s content:

[Photo via YouTube]

— —

>> Follow Matt Wilstein (@TheMattWilstein) on Twitter

Have a tip we should know?

Filed Under: