How Buzzfeed’s #BoardGamerGate Played Out

monopoly-sucks-lol

Back in March Tom Chivers, formerly of The Telegraph, poster a mildly mocking why-oh-why piece about “Why Monopoly Is The Worst Game In The World”. Some time later it was deleted. We now are told at the behest of the Editor-in-chief, Ben Smith. Originally it was claimed that the Tom Chivers deleted it himself, an odd thing for a journalist to do unless he is being sued. Tom didn’t delete his tweets about it:tom chivers monopoly tweet

It is unlikely Tom knew that Hasbro, the makers of Monopoly, had signed a big sponsorship deal with Buzzfeed until perhaps Ben Smith, editor-in-chief, had a word.

84752-Loki-what-the-fuck-are-you-doi-kOM2[1]

At this point, in breach of all the fancy ethical guidelines that Buzzfeeders boast about…

… the post got deleted.

Critics were on the lookout for this kind of malfeasance after Gawker published an article on Thursday reporting that BuzzFeed deleted an article that attacked Dove’s latest advertising campaign.

On Friday morning MediaGuido was alerted by a reader that this had happened in relation to Monopoly. At 14:30 we reached out to Buzzfeed and Tom Chivers for an explanation. We got no reply. However, coincidentally perhaps, a former Telegraph colleague of Tom Chivers tweeted a reference to the issue at 15:40, at the same time as we published out first story.

The situation at this point was pretty much:

Media Guido predicted it would go like this:

It pretty much did exactly that, except far quicker…

Here’s the cover up:

As soon as New York media types started pushing the story, the statement of regret swiftly arrived:

It turns out that Buzzfeed at the very least self-censors when it comes to lucrative advertisers. The Telegraph did the same with HSBC, about which a Buzzfeed report took a very moralistic tone, reporting that “…Telegraph colleagues had lost all faith in the newspaper’s management”. Turns out hipsters can be hypocrites too…

The article isn’t even that interesting anyway:

LOL.

Buzzfeed: Follow the Monopoly Money

Following Media Guido’s revelation that Buzzfeed deleted a negative article about the board game Monopoly just a month after entering a lucrative sponsored content deal with Monopoly’s owner Hasbro, Techno Guido can report that Buzzfeed inserted computer code into their website that forced Google and Wayback Machine into hiding the deleted article from their cache:

buzzfeed robot

This stops people from viewing an article critical of one its sponsored content ‘collaborators’ and even prevents people who search for the article to see that it existed.

Google cache and Wayback Machine are digital archives of the web that can be used to find web pages that are no longer available.

Tom Chivers’ Monopoly article is the only one of Buzzfeed’s deleted articles that has been blocked from Google in this way, the other article mentioned above has not been deleted. It’s always the cover up that gets you.

UPDATE: Matthew Ingram points out that removing an entire post is explicitly forbidden in BuzzFeed’s ponderous code of conduct:

Selection_007[1]

Buzzfeed Monopoly Advertising Mystery

monopoly buzzfeed

On the 12 March Buzzfeed published an article by Tom Chivers called “Why Monopoly Is The Worst Game In The World, And What You Should Play Instead“. The next day the article had been deletedat the request of the author.” A strange request for a journalist to make. Especially since Chivers was clearly proud of the story, tweeting:

tom chivers monopoly tweet

What could have prompted such an extraordinary effort to remove the article from the web, with even Google’s cached version of the story now unavailable? Surely it has nothing to do with Buzzfeed’scollaboration” with Hasbro, the makers of Monopoly, to advertise “MONOPOLY Here & Now“? At Guido’s count, Buzzfeed ran 21 articles promoting Hasbro’s competition to chose which city made their next version of Monopoly.

buzzfeed and monopoly

Buzzfeed went big on the Telegraph/HSBC scandal back in February, publishing “the critical HSBC story deleted from the Daily Telegraph website”. MediaGuido is awaiting comment…

Those Who Can, Do. Those Who Can’t…

wmf

Media Guido has been invited to pay £210 plus VAT to learn about the future of news as told by keynote speakers from Twitter ($1.8 billion in debt), Buzzfeed ($96.3 million in debt after 8 years), Sky News (reputed to lose £10 million annually) and the BBC (not-for-profit). Where has Guido gone wrong?

Lefty Topspin Takes Sheen Off Buzzfeed

“Michael Sheen Has Delivered A Furious Attack On The Tories’ Treatment Of The NHS” reads the Buzzfeed headline reporting on a speech by the actor over the weekend. Sheen “delivered a impassioned speech in defence of the NHS” and apparently “people on the internet are absolutely loving it”. But was Sheen’s speech quite the anti-Tory diatribe Buzzfeed claimed? Read down to the bottom of the article and he actually said:

“This is beyond party politics. The Labour government arguably did as much damage to the NHS as any Tory or coalition [government].”

Even the Guardian headline“Michael Sheen defends NHS against ‘bland’ politicians” – reflected Sheen’s non-partisan position. Their write up makes clear Sheen was criticising “politicians in thrall to the market from both Conservative and Labour parties”. Such left-wing topspin would make even HuffPo UK blush…

Future of Journalism Update

Step One: Tumblr blogger uploads image of a dress, which some people think is gold and white, and others think is blue and black.

Step Two: Buzzfeed lifts Tumblr post.

Step Three: The Buzzfeed post receives 22 million pageviews and draws more visitors to the site at any one time than anything ever has before. By contrast, Buzzfeed doesn’t publish the pageviews on its interview with Barack Obama.

Step Four: Buzzfeed’s team offer their analysis of the site’s most popular story ever:

No cats were harmed in the making of the story. It’s the future of journalism…

Buzzfeed Sign Sting Queen Heidi Blake

Great get for Buzzfeed, who have impressively managed to convince Heidi Blake to join them from the Sunday Times. No secret that the Sunday Times has less of an appetite for expensive investigations, especially after losing a million plus to Peter Cruddas in a defamation case. Heidi, of FIFA files fame, was famously herself stung in the video above last year. Finally Buzzfeed will now surely start to break some real stories…

Buzzfeed Writer “Regrets” Charlie Hebdo Victim-Blaming

siraj-datoo

Siraj Datoo has responded to our story in a statement, admitting he was wrong to write “Don’t let Charlie Hebdo be seen as a victim” in a 2011 Muslim News article:

“I wrote a piece more than 3 years ago as a 21 year old undergraduate student. The headline is false and overblown, and I regret it: the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists were victims then and were, horrifically, victims yesterday. I strongly believe in freedom of expression, which includes the freedom to offend.

The article was clumsily trying to say what many journalists have since reported, that the magazine was a provocative one, with satire that aimed to provoke, but that has no bearing on yesterday’s horrific, indefensible attacks.”

No apology…

Buzzfeed Reporter: “Don’t Let Charlie Hebdo Be Seen as Victim”
Accused Dead Journalists of Whinging After Firebombing

siraj-datoo

Here are 6 reasons why Buzzfeed’s UK political reporter Siraj Datoo might have thought twice before sending the above “#JeSuisCharlie” tweet today. Writing in Muslim […]

+ READ MORE +

What Happened to Newspaper Advertising Revenue?

GoogleAdRevenue

Peter Preston points out that the recent announcement from Times Newspapers Limited (London) that 51% of revenue was coming from print and digital sales seemed to boast how digital subscriptions were soaring; “it may equally have been demonstrating how far […]

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Yet Another Telegraph Departure

Still they come. Telegraph assistant comment editor Tom Chivers is the latest name to leave Buckingham Palace Road, joining his former boss Rob Colvile at Buzzfeed. The paper of Bill Deedes has stooped to listicles and cat pictures in […]

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Trinity Mirror CEO Blasts Brooks Newmark Story Critics
Buzzfeed, Telegraph Criticised for Revealing Innocents’ Names

brooks-newmark-mirror-frontpage

Trinity Mirror CEO Simon Fox has put out an extremely robust defence of the Sunday Mirror/Brooks Newmark story:

“Whilst this has attracted a barrage of negative comment and the threat of an IPSO investigation, we believe that we were

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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