In January, Buzzfeed released a standards and ethics guide, eliciting a collective chuckle from the journalism community. It took only a few months for Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith to seemingly flout those standards, realize the mistake, and awkwardly correct his error.
The controversy started with a pair of articles—one critical of a Dove soap ad, the other critical of the games Risk and Monopoly. Gawker reported that the posts were taken down last week and replaced with the explanation that the posts were “not consistent with the tone of Buzzfeed Life.”
Dove’s parent company Unilever is a frequent advertiser on Buzzfeed. Though no one explicitly said that the posts in question were taken down due to advertiser pressure, Gawker points out that Buzzfeed “has a documented history of disappearing less-than-positive content on behalf of Unilever.”