BuzzFeed Is Exposing Readers to Opposing Viewpoints With ‘Outside Your Bubble’ Initiative

Hoping to rebuild trust in the media

BuzzFeed is showing opposing views to its readers.
BuzzFeed News

BuzzFeed News wants to challenge your bubble.

Oftentimes, audiences will read a piece of news or content and “the same story will have two or three distinct and siloed conversations taking place around it on social media, where people talk to the like-minded without even being aware of other perspectives on the same reporting,” wrote BuzzFeed News’s editor-in-chief Ben Smith in a post on the site on Friday.

Readers may not be aware of the bigger context surrounding a news article, let alone what the “other” point of view would be; with BuzzFeed News’ “Outside Your Bubble” tool, readers will be shown links to other conversations from other social media platforms.

It’s a chance, as Smith wrote in the announcement, “to give our audience a glimpse at what’s happening outside their own social media spaces.”

Other publishing platforms, like The Odyssey, have rolled out similar tools within the last year as well; The Odyssey’s algorithm will suggest articles within its own site that might disagree with you, while BuzzFeed shows different angles from social media sites.

BuzzFeed, a site that this author used to work for, started to develop the tool, which is being used in this article on Twitter’s response to abusive accounts, back in December. According to Smith, a team led by Dilip Rajan, on the development side, and Mat Honan, on the tech coverage side, created the bulk of the product throughout the holidays and into January of this year.

“I do think this is a central crisis in media now,” Smith told Adweek, “something that underlies a lot of the conversations around fake news and trust in the media. This seemed like one modest way to get at it.”