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April 10, 2015updated 13 Apr 2015 4:08pm

‘I blew it’, says Buzzfeed editor over decision to pull negative comment pieces about advertisers

By William Turvill and Dominic Ponsford

Buzzfeed's editor-in-chief has admitted pulling a piece from the UK version of the site which contained negative comment about an advertiser.

But he has denied it was due to commercial pressure and instead said it was because the piece involved "personal opinion".

The article about boardgame Monopoly, written last month by former Telegraph journalist Tom Chivers, was removed "at the request of the author".

This is despite the fact that Chivers tweeted a link to the story last month saying: "I've meant to say this for ages. Monopoly is a DREADFUL game. Dreadful. You must never play it."

He has also tweeted previously saying: "Monopoly is shite. It is known," and: "Monopoly really is a crap, crap, boring and pointless game."

Political website Guido Fawkes  has linked the deletion to 21 sponsored articles from Monopoly hosted on the Buzzfeed site.

The story was headlined “Why Monopoly Is The Worst Game In The World, And What You Should Play Instead".

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Buzzfeed UK editor Luke Lewis told Press Gazette that he did not know why the post was taken down but that the New York office was looking into the matter, on Friday evening.

Buzzfeed has previously faced criticism in the US over its decision to pull a post which criticised a Dove beauty video ad campaign. Dove is also a sponsor of the site.

Buzzfeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith issued a mea culpa and reinstated the Dove and Monopoly posts on Friday night. 

He said: "I blew it. Twice in the last couple of months, I've asked editors – over their better judgment and without any respect to our standards or process – to delete recently published posts from the site. Both involved the same thing: my overreaction to questions we've been wresting with about the place of personal opinion pieces on our site. I reacted impulsively when I saw the posts and was wrong to do that."

When the Telegraph faced intense criticism over its lack of coverage of the HSBC scandal, and subsequent reporting of suicides at News UK, Buzzfeed UK reported extensively on the story.

The Buzzfeed editorial and ethics guide states: "Editorial posts should never be deleted for reasons related to their content, or because a subject or stakeholder has asked you."

Here is Buzzfeed's earlier explanation from Smith about why the Dove post was taken down: 

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