Buzzfeed opens up about how reader comments influence its content decisions

By Adam Libonatti-Roche | Freelance creative

February 25, 2016 | 2 min read

Buzzfeed's editorial director, Summer Anne Burton, has talked about how the website follows users' comments in order to influence its content decisions.

Speaking on the same day that the Telegraph decided to suspend comments on its website, Burton discussed why she believed reader comments remained important during a packed SVA Theatre at Social Media Week New York.

“We learn a lot from reading comments,” stated Burton. “It’s not just about big numbers but instead you should think, what made someone say this?”

Buzzfeed wants to know why its users respond in a certain way to content so much so that it believes that readers comments can reveal more from just a simple 'like'. It allows its team to see what content is working on individual platforms, as demonstrated by its recent approach to Tumblr wherein it no longer links to the content on its website, instead deciding to “embrace the fact people are ending with our content on Tumblr".

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In essence, The Telegraph is removing comments in the hope that commenters instead will take the path of sharing their opinion on social media, whilst the publication will research and reconsider a new approach to commenting. Commenting is a a tactic that could lead to improved engagement on posts but also an uncontrollable and untracked forum - on Twitter at least.

What do you think about the future of commenting on media websites - should they remain a key feature? Let us know in the comments section below.

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