BuzzFeed took down an article from 2014 with the headline “Ariana Grande Apparently Said She Hopes Her Fans All “F*cking Die” in what seems to be a response to the deadly bombing at Grande’s Manchester concert Monday night.
After the deletion gained a large amount of attention on social media, reaching the front page of the_donald subreddit, the republished article is back up on the site with a disclosure saying: “This three-year-old post about a reported Ariana Grande quote went viral following a suicide bombing at her concert on Monday in Manchester, England. The remarks are unrelated to the incident.”
The new headline reads, “This Post About Ariana Grande Is From 2014,” and it has a May 23, 2017, timestamp, instead of the original Sept. 18, 2014, one.
“Overnight, the post went viral, as many people shared it without knowing that it was published in 2014,” a BuzzFeed spokesperson said. “This morning we updated the post to add context and make clear that the post is three years old; while it was being updated, the article was temporarily removed, and is now back up.”
An archive of the article was saved last night before deletion, showing BuzzFeed added an editor’s note to the article that said, “The comments were reportedly made in 2014 and not related to the deadly incident at her concert in Manchester, England.”
Apparently this was not enough clarification and they had to completely remove and republish the article with an entirely innocuous headline.
As a media professional myself, it is very easy to update an article without deleting it. It is actually a hell of a lot harder to take down the article in order to make changes. BuzzFeed could have easily changed the headline and added clarification without completely nuking the article, which raises suspicions that they had intended to permanently remove the article, but backtracked when they got caught.
But I’m just speculating.
I asked BuzzFeed if they usually take down articles when updating, and they said they do not.