Devilish mediabomination site BuzzFeed has confessed that it removed "content"* because it drew complaints from the site's advertising partners.
"Editor-in-chief" Ben Smith sent the results of an internal review to staff last Saturday which revealed three instances on his watch in which content had been removed after it had attracted the ire of advertisers.
Smith's memo, uploaded by The New York Times, revealed three explicit takedowns of material in response to advertiser complaints, alongside more than 1,000 other takedowns.
Of the three deletions that BuzzFeed's internal review turned up which were explicitly due to commercial pressure, it seems posts criticising Microsoft, Pepsi and Unilever products had miffed the advertisers sufficiently that Buzzfeed's "editorial"* side complied with their wishes.
While links to the articles continue to permeate the web, they now direct browsers to a Page Not Found message.
These Brands Are Going To Bombard Your Twitter Feed On Super Bowl Sunday http://t.co/NbDud9ORRy— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) January 31, 2014
The listicle above was set to criticise the Pepsi twitter account, but it turns out that was being operated by BuzzFeed's "creative"* team at the time.
Smith told listicle-compiler Samir Mezrahi "Anyway – you know I love you, and love how deep down the rabbit hole you are on social, and how hard you think about all these things, but this is a thing we need to be careful about."
After vomiting for a bit, The Register was surprised to learn that specified in the memo were 100 other posts which had been removed post publication because the "editors felt [they] were sloppily done ... inaccurate or in some other way flawed."
*Famously, any given bit of BuzzFeed "content" could be "editorial" (on Buzzfeed an actual news or more commonly feature/listicle/catpic/celebrity buttocks article), "creative" (advertising) or in many cases a mixture of the two. The site doesn't carry ads as such, they are blended into the "content".