Buzzfeed on Saturday denied accusations that it deleted two articles that were critical of advertisers related to the website. Buzzfeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith said the content had been pulled because of editorial concerns, and had since been reinstated because their deletion went against the company's policy.
"I blew it," he admitted in a memo attached to a tweet. "Twice in the last couple of months, I've asked editors -- over their better judgment and without any respect to our standards or process -- to delete recently published posts from the site."
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
Gawker had reported the article's deletion on Thursday. The article discussed body image issues in a new ad by cosmetics company Dove. “Dove is at it again with a viral beauty video meant to have women question the way they see themselves: beautiful or average,” the post read. “Because life is apparently defined by these two labels and nothing else.”
However, on Thursday, the page was taken down before being reuploaded later early Saturday. “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,” the update read. Unilever, Dove’s owner, is a BuzzFeed advertiser, according to Gawker.
The other story was related to the game of Monopoly, which is owned by Hasbro, another BuzzFeed advertiser. The article, which attacked the game, was reportedly removed “at the request of the author” Tom Chivers. Chivers did not delete a tweet promoting the game and did not comment when asked by the Guardian about its removal.
However, Smith stressed that the articles were pulled not because of their content, but their tone. "When we approach charged topics like body image and feminism, we need to show not tell," he wrote. "Using our own voices to advance a personal opinion often isn't in line with BuzzFeed Life's tone and editorial mission."
He also told the Guardian that all the site’s other articles critical of Unilever were still available.