Over the last few months, a spate of BuzzFeed employees have quit the organization complaining that they are made to churn out mindless propaganda in huge quantities, with complete disregard for quality or the truth.
On YouTube, a number of “Why I Left BuzzFeed” videos feature former employees listing strikingly similar confessionals in which they reveal the dirty truth about working for the multi-million dollar Internet company.
A large number of recurring themes can be spotted in these videos, including:
- Lack of creative ownership and control over their work
- Pressure to churn out quantity rather than quality
- Being prohibited from communicating directly with their audiences on social media
- Being told they are not allowed to work on outside projects
- Executives at the organization imposing liberal policies that they don’t agree with
Naturalnews.com reports: There were also those who didn’t leave of their own volition. In June of last year, BuzzFeed let go of video content creators Jenny Lorenzo and Brittany Ashley for allegedly breaching their exclusive contracts with the company.
The actor-writer-producer pair had small roles on “Gente-Fied”, a web series produced by America Ferrera. This led to their termination and to BuzzFeed Motion Pictures president Ze Frank issuing a company-wide memo emphasizing the company’s expectations of its creators and their BuzzFeed-only content.
BuzzFeed: Strict content curators and unapologetic fabricators
The drama surrounding BuzzFeed is fresh, but this isn’t the company’s first brush with controversy. During March of this year, a Wikileaks document from Vault 7 revealed that BuzzFeed had published false information about tech giant Apple.
The company alleged that Apple “patched the vulnerabilities mentioned in the Wikileaks dump of CIA cyber tools” when they hadn’t. The statement was labeled “fake news” in the document.
Earlier in January, BuzzFeed turned their focus to then-presidential elect Donald J. Trump. In the story, they took their fake news even further by saying they had a 35-page dossier that comprised of serious but unsubstantiated claims revolving Trump.
In response to the story, NBC news host Chuck Todd chastised BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith. “I know this was not your intent. I’ve known you a long time, but you just published fake news. You made a knowing decision to put out an untruth,” Todd said during a segment of his MSNBC show, Meet the Press Daily.
The host then asked if BuzzFeed’s decision to put the spotlight on the dossier hurt the media’s integrity: “There was a line. When does the line become yelling ‘fire’ in a theater? Transparency can turn into a crutch, can turn into laziness.”
President Trump himself denied the contents of the dossier and criticized BuzzFeed during a press conference.
Apart from calling the website a “failing pile of garbage”, he also remarked: “I think it’s a disgrace that information that was false and fake and never happened got released to public…I think they’re going to suffer the consequences. They already are.”