The internet is about to become far less cancerous. BuzzFeed News is going in the dustbin.
BuzzFeed was a website that drew in tons of traffic through SEO optimization, gaming algorithms, and lots and lots of plagiarism.
It was originally a listicle website that posted braindead articles, like “12 Cat Pics to Get You Through Your Wednesday“, “6 Signs That You Are Like Raphael From the Ninja Turtles“, and “8 Lifehacks That Haven’t Been Working For You Because You’ve Been Doing Them DEAD WRONG!“
If you’ve been to Buzzfeed, you probably thought that those were actual headlines from their site, because they were stupid enough to belong. Fact is, I just made them up. But if those same headlines were in their site somewhere verbatim, it wouldn’t surprise me.
Many of their articles were bereft of words, largely consisting of pictures. Much of what’s on their site was lifted directly from other websites, often without attribution. In other words, it was like the Cracked.com articles that were written by the users. However, the MIT grad operator of the website knew how to turn the site into a money printer through SEO optimization.
But then they discovered rage-bait, and how that could draw in traffic. That garbage drew in mountains of rage-clicks that allowed the site to rake in a ton of money.
Eventually, they got into journalism, and no prize for guessing that they were lacking in ethics. They pretty much took a political side, and made things to appeal to their tribe. While just about every news outlet does this, Buzzfeed was noteworthy in doing less than most others to hide their bias.
Remember the guy who made the news for getting into a fight and getting killed over a chicken sandwich? That story originated from BuzzFeed. In reality, the fight wasn’t over a chicken sandwich, it was over a place in line. At the time, people memed over chicken sandwiches. So BuzzFeed, determined to game the algorithms for attention as they usually do, decided to season their coverage with bullshit.
Then there’s their tendency to push zombies into their stories wherever they can fit them in. It should be obvious why. Millions of dinguses are coping with their slow decent into mediocrity by fantasizing about how they’d survive a zombie apocalypse, and daydream about a hypothetical scenario where their video game knowledge actually makes them supermen. Because BuzzFeed knows the potential for clicks from the zombie crowd, they’ll randomly mention zombies here and there. Idiot clicks are still clicks.
BuzzFeed knows the potential for rage-clicks from injustices concerning racism and sexism, which is why they look for racism and sexism anywhere they could find it.
BuzzFeed has fried the minds of millions of gullible cretins, so you can imagine how much better the world of journalism has become now that BuzzFeed is shutting down.
Apparently, their bullshit isn’t profitable anymore. I suspect that there’s more to it, such as that venture capital running dry, and ESG is beginning to putter out. The company still has Huffington Post, which is another news site that few people actually take seriously. Hopefully, that one isn’t long out of the grave, either.
In any case, this is yet another sign that the culture war is turning around. I suspect that we’re going to be seeing a lot more like this in the days to come.