BuzzFeed reposts deleted Dove article

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BuzzFeed reposted a story about Dove soap after questions arose over why it had been deleted.

BuzzFeed reposted a story Friday that was critical of a Dove soap campaign after questions were raised whether the story had been taken down because the maker of Dove soap was a frequent advertiser.

"I blew it," Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith wrote in a memo that he tweeted Friday. "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."

Smith added that he "reacted impulsively when I saw the posts and I was wrong to do that" and that both posts would be reinstated with a brief note.

One of the deleted then reinstated stories was posted in February and concerned the game of Monopoly. The other was posted to the site's "Life" page on Wednesday and was critical of a Dove advertising campaign.

"This post was inappropriately deleted amid an ongoing conversation about how and when to publish personal opinion pieces on BuzzFeed," an update read on the reinstated story. "The deletion was in violation of our editorial standards and the post has been reinstated."

Gawker noticed the deletion on Thursday and raised the question whether the article was taken down due to the BuzzFeed's relationship to Unilever, Dove's owner, and a BuzzFeed advertiser.

Hasbro, the makers of Monopoly, is also an advertiser.

Smith denied that advertiser pressure was behind the Dove story deletion.

dove soap

"You also have a right to ask about whether we did this because of advertiser pressure, as Gawker suggested," Smith wrote to the BuzzFeed staff on Friday. "The answer is no."

Soon after Gawker's story on Thursday, Smith posted a memo on Twitter written by BuzzFeed Life editorial director Peggy Wang and BuzzFeed Food editor Emily Fleischaker.

The memo said that the piece was pulled due to the article's voice and not its content.

"When we approach charged topics like body image and feminism, we need to show not tell," the memo read. "Using our own voices (and hence, BuzzFeed's voice) to advance a personal opinion often isn't in line with BuzzFeed Life's tone and editorial mission."

Or as Smith said in the tweet attached to the Thursday memo: "We are trying not to do hot takes."

On Friday, Smith made it clear that advertiser pressure is something he tries to shield his staff from.

"I field complaints all the time from companies and individuals, including advertisers, and I see it as my job to shield you from that pressure," he wrote.


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