BuzzFeed deleted its “Dove beauty campaign” criticism article, and decided not to post any hot takes.

April 8th, BuzzFeed staff writer Arabelle Sicardi posted an article criticizing the Dove bizarre advertising campaign. In the next morning, BuzzFeed deleted the entire post and replaced it with a single sentence: “We pulled this post because it is not consistent with the tone of BuzzFeed Life”. It is not the first time, since BuzzFeed deleted more than 4,000 older posts that “didn’t age well” last year.

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 3.00.12 AM

In the campaign, Dove asked women to walk through doors, which were labeled ”beautiful” and “average”. In the video a large part of women chose “average” were questioned and suggested to #ChooseBeautiful. From the copy of Sicardi’s original post, neither the content nor the “tone” was objectionable. Her original line was: ” You don’t have to be beautiful (or at the very least, you shouldn’t have to be), and not being beautiful doesn’t mean you’re average. Feeling beautiful is an obligation and a pressure — and sometimes a pleasure, but not always”.

The reason why the story was taken down is that Dove, owned by Unilever, is an advertiser on BuzzFeed. Although its editors do not admit and insist that “the article didn’t fit the site’s editorial standards”. It is ironic since in January 2015, “The BuzzFeed Editorial Standards And Ethics Guide” was published which states that “Editorial posts should never be deleted for reasons related to their content, or because a subject or stakeholder has asked you to do so.”

From this very incident, the BuzzFeed Life editors Ben Smith and Peggy Wang clearly stated that: “We are trying not to do hot takes, ” and “…not telling our audience how to think and feel”. It seems that we are about to see more “unbiased” contents on BuzzFeed.

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 3.01.41 AM


My questions are:

As a news media company, do you think it is a professional journalism behavior for BuzzFeed to take back its posts after posting? Is it a good choice for BuzzFeed to stop any “hot takes”? If you are the editor, how do you deal with the “sensitive articles” related to your advertisers?


2 thoughts on “BuzzFeed deleted its “Dove beauty campaign” criticism article, and decided not to post any hot takes.

  1. I do not believe that it is in the best interest of any media source to take down posts after they have been posted. I believe that professional journalist have a responsibility to what they post albeit online, or in hard copy, via publishing, such as periodicals. For example, newspapers are not afforded the option of removing content once its customers purchase a paper. Instead the remedy for this has always been that the newspaper would post a correction or an apology. The original content would still be in circulation.

    Another example can be seen from the recent incident as it relates to newscaster Brian Williams. Mr. Williams reported on a personal experience during an international conflict that was not factual. His report was issued over a decade ago. Video footage of the report has been stored by millions and cannot be removed. This incident calls into question the ethical responsibilities that journalist, whether they be on television or online, have.

    I do think that it’s a good idea for BuzzFeed to stop “hot takes,” Perhaps the reward of being the first to deliver content comes with a risk that does not out weigh being first?

  2. If I am a media company, journalist, or any entity that distributes news, I would assume that every member of your audience sees each post immediately. So removing posts do nothing, especially with screen shots today. The damage is already done. I can write a sensitive tweet and delete it, but I’m sure there are ways to still find out. I also think BuzzFeed should limit its hot takes. Being the first outlet to report a news story is not necessarily a good thing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s