BuzzFeed News Wins George Polk Award For Exposing How Facebook Facilitated, Then Failed To Police, Dangerous Disinformation And Incitement To Violence
BuzzFeed News Reporters Ryan Mac and Craig Silverman Received the Award for Business Reporting
NEW YORK, Feb. 24, 2021 – BuzzFeed News today was awarded the George Polk Award, for a relentless drumbeat of reporting on how the world’s most powerful social network grappled with its role in subverting democracy and empowering far-right racists leading into the most contentious election in modern history. The honor for the global news organization, announced Wednesday, was for Business Reporting. This marks the second Polk Award win for BuzzFeed News; in 2018, reporter Melissa Segura won for exposing a Chicago police detective who allegedly framed more than 50 innocent men for murder, and the broken justice system that enabled him. Her reporting that ultimately helped free a man from prison and helped exonerate 10 others. Since 2016, reporters on the BuzzFeed News Tech desk have won the Polk, Livingston and Mirror awards.
“Holding power to account, this compelling series exposes the real-world implications of devastating mistakes and duplicitous behavior by one of the most powerful companies in the world,” said Mark Schoofs, editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News. “I am deeply proud of Ryan and Craig for their outstanding coverage, which involved years of reporting, painstaking sourcing, and innovative techniques to communicate in a way that protected sources.”
Gaining unprecedented access to internal discussions, directives, recordings, and documents, BuzzFeed News reporters Ryan Mac and Craig Silverman exposed the turmoil, mistakes, and lies of Facebook as the immensely powerful company struggled with its failures to protect its platform and the global public. So complete was their access that employees repeatedly posted messages to Workplace, Facebook’s internal discussion tool, speculating that a BuzzFeed News reporter had a login to the system.
The following articles were included in BuzzFeed News’ winning submission:
These stories forced Facebook to publicly apologize, to release previously undisclosed information about state-sponsored disinformation campaigns, and to answer for its failings under oath before Congress.
ABOUT BUZZFEED NEWS
BuzzFeed News is a world-class news organization that publishes original online reporting, as well as video and audio programming across multiple platforms. BuzzFeed News holds major institutions accountable, breaks explosive stories, and reveals injustices that change people’s lives — all while averaging more than 54 million unique readers a month. BuzzFeed News employs more than 100 journalists across five countries and has won the National Magazine Awards and multiple George Polk Awards, Livingston Awards, and Mirror Awards. BuzzFeed News was nominated for its first Emmy Award in 2019 and is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist.