Reports have emerged over the weekend that online publisher giant BuzzFeed has deleted three of its published posts due to pressure from advertisers.
Online publisher Gawker reports BuzzFeed had launched an internal review of all deleted posts, off the back of BuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief Ben Smith deleting a post in early April.
Appreciate the criticism. We just reinstated two posts and I sent this note to staffers. pic.twitter.com/YodxHiQmt2
— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) April 10, 2015
In a memo to staff, first obtained by Gawker, 1112 posts had been deleted from BuzzFeed, three of them being because of ‘advertiser complaints’.
One post was from a BuzzFeed staffer Mark Duffy who wrote about Axe body spray. The memo to staff from Smith explains: “An ad agency complained, via our chief revenue officer at the time, that he was accusing them of advocating ‘worldwide mass rape’ in an ad for Axe body spray, and that the tone of his item was over the top.”
On March 5 2013 Microsoft’s web browser Internet Explorer was the topic of ridicule in a post from Tanner Ringerud. Ringerud had previously worked on a Microsoft ad campaign so the post was pulled as Smith found it inappropriate for Ringerud to write about brands whose campaigns he’d worked on.
The third post was from January 27 2014, where the head of BuzzFeed’s creative department, Samir Mezrahi had taken creative from a Pepsi campaign running on the site and used it in an editorial story.
In the memo, Smith said: “We don’t write about ads that are running on BuzzFeed unless they are genuinely newsworthy. Appreciation buzz posts celebrating a fun or cool ad are fine, as are posts critical of ads — but that content should not be about ads BuzzFeed’s business side has created.”