What’s Wrong With This App: Buzzfeed News?

What’s Wrong With This App: Buzzfeed News?

We’re often so focused on marketing to millennials, that we can’t see how much the electronics and media convergence is happening to all of us. Forget the youngsters for a second, let’s just look at how our media consumption has changed. I’d argue that more people get their news from Comedy Central than from traditional newspapers. And today when I was looking at Buzzfeed News I couldn’t help but wonder, BUZZFEED does not equal NEWS. There’s no news in Buzzfeed, What’s the deal?


When I saw the app on my iPhone this afternoon I was confused. “Did I download a news app, or has Apple snuck a new app on my phone?” Turns out it’s Buzzfeed News.

And here’s the main screen when time I opened it up.



Pretty straight forward. The news as curated by Buzzfeed. The “My Alerts” idea seemed a bit odd as well. Like I want my news app to “alert” me of news events. Do I really?


The idea that I would set up my news app, from Buzzfeed mind you, to push notifications to me about news stories, just seems weird. That it’s BUZZFEED, as in click bait, clickhole, click for dollars. How could they deliver my news? And then why would I ever allow their app to push news stories to my phone? Sounds like a nightmare to me. But again, I’m not the demographic that uses Snapchat for texting or Instagram for social connections.

I flicked through the stories on the app, and I was amazed at the details that were included in the stories. Things like “background points to remember” and “highlights from the past.” I could see that Buzzfeed news was capable of spinning any of these issues just how they wanted. If they wanted Iraq to seem like a bad idea, ten years later, they could use their historial montage to reflect that angle. So who is behind Buzzfeed and why should I trust them with “news” delivery? I don’t think I should or will, but I know the kids opening this app will think they have their handle on the world events.

It’s a bit like me these days. I don’t subscribe to a paper or watch tv news. I get most of my stories from the NYTimes or Huffington Post. And I roll my own entertainment on Facebook by LIKING and FOLLOWING companies or media outlets I like.

The powers behind Buzzfeed are moving from click-for-dollars twitch social marketing to pseudo-news. Sort of like Fox News. We’re not really sure what the agenda is behind it, but we know it’s not the truth or fair and balanced.

When I got to the end of the packaged news from Buzzfeed I was congratulated for being “all caught up.”



Again, I’m pretty certain the news curators at #teamnewsapp are no more reliable than those at #thedailyshow, but one is packaged as comedy and one is… well, I’m not certain what Buzzfeed News is, but I’m pretty sure it’s where the kids are going to be getting “all caught up” on their current events.

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

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