Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed’s CEO, has a non-explanation explanation for why his site secretly deleted more than 4,000 posts. In an interview with Slate, Peretti admitted that “We probably could have communicated better, or handled it better,” but the reason they didn’t is because BuzzFeed used to be a tech company, and now it’s a media company.
Peretti said that BuzzFeed became a media company when it hired Ben Smith, and that the posts were deleted because they were “technically broken, not sourced to our current standards, not worth improving or saving because the content isn’t very good.”
Another way of saying this is “We deleted the posts once we realized someone would notice the rampant plagiarism that we used to become a popular site.” If you’re a media company, you don’t just get to delete articles whenever you want.
Why did it take until 2014 to get rid of these “broken” articles, when Smith was hired in 2011? Also, BuzzFeed just got $50 million from an investor who said “We think of BuzzFeed as more of a technology company.” Peretti might want to inform them that they’re a media company now. Or is his description of BuzzFeed dependent on who’s asking?