Why Buzzfeed desperately need gatekeepers

buzzfeed racism

It’s been a couple of years that our newsfeed continually showcase baby koalas and dancing kittens.

Buzzfeed has been created in 2006, during the web 2.0 boom. At this time, traditional newspapers players couldn’t predict social media would have such an impact on their traffic. Today, 75% of Buzzfeed readers come from SoMe.

Quite naturally, there’s a gap between what people read and what they share. Buzzfeed understood this early. It started with lists, then GIFs, then every kind of stuff that people want to like, tweet or share.

I don’t really care about Buzzfeed. They’re smart blokes, they’re taking the money where it is. What bother me is when their editorial line cross the border, producing racist content or stupidity (this French article where BF editor happily explain that despite lolcats, French peeps deeply engage with regional stereotypes and anti-parisian content).

As Eli Pariser phonily explained a couple of years ago, people need gatekeepers to have equal access to a plurality of sources.

A few years ago, French intelligentsia choked when TF1 boss Patrick Le Lay asserted that telly wasn’t about elevating programs but entertaining people between commercials. Yet, TF1 is one of the biggest funder of the creation in France in Europe and is compelled to broadcast all kind of content. Call it communism but this is the French exception and we’re kind of proud of it.

Buzzfeed is like TF1 without gatekeepers. One day if anti-Semitism and witchery are what’s trending, no doubt it will jump on it.

Oups, Godwin point.

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