Buzzfeed brings out the good, the bad and the inaccurate

It seems that every time I look at a screen; I find this one website right there in front of me, and the few times it’s not I miss it and want it there.

With entries ranging from “21 Images That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity,” which received more than 10 million hits, to “A Pinterest User Has Been Attributing Hitler Quotes To Taylor Swift,” the website has recently become a national sensation, especially among college students like myself.

I am pretty sure you have most likely figured out what website I am referring to; and if you haven’t, then quit all your activities and start being on your computer a bit more often like the rest of us.

But if Buzzfeed is the website you had in mind, then congratulations – you’re right.

A leading web information company, Alexa, ranked Buzzfeed as the 245th most-visited website around the world, and the 69th in the United States, from where more than 58 percent of the site’s visitors are.

The new Mecca for college students seeking humor was established in 2006 to provide viral web content on politics, social norms, childhood memories and celebrity meltdowns aimed at people from all ages and demographics.

What I’m trying to say and what the numbers back up is that Buzzfeed is rapidly becoming one of the most popular websites on the Internet, creating original content and allowing its loyal fan base to post its own as well.

One of these latest community contributors on Buzzfeed is the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

What this means in my opinion is that the website has opened its doors to political propaganda and a public relations machine influencing the public’s – and mostly college students’ – opinions about the Middle East.

As long as the post submitted is cool-looking and fitting of the general sense of the website, it gets to go online, no matter how politically incorrect, one-sided and inaccurate it is.

Like the one the embassy posted not too long ago.

The embassy’s first official entry as a contributor was a colorful map of the threats and incidents faced by Israel in the Middle East.

An example of the bias shown in the map is the claim that radical forces and a “culture of conflict” generate strong anti-Israeli incitement and hatred in the West Bank.

While the anti-Israeli sentiment is certainly present and strong in the area, the cause for it goes more back to the existence of illegal settlements built on the ground, numerous demeaning check points and the casual destruction of homes, villages, trees and lives.

The “culture of conflict” the map addresses completely glosses over Israel’s illegal treatment of Palestinians and its constant human rights and international law violations in the region.

All in all, from an editorial standpoint, I think allowing any political body to take part of an independent widely reached website such as Buzzfeed is a dangerous move.

Many Buzzfeed readers, for instance, don’t realize the difference between a Buzzfeed-produced entry and a community-produced one. The inaccuracy of one certainly reflects the inaccuracy of the other.

 

HIBA ALMASRI

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