BuzzFeed Quizzes - the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
By Greg Skloot
In the past few years, BuzzFeed quizzes have taken the internet by storm.
A different BuzzFeed Quiz always seems to be making the rounds on social media, since they’re so easy to share with friends and family. Face it, we all want to see if a quiz can tell us fun things about ourselves, even if it’s just which Disney character we’re most like.
But who exactly makes BuzzFeed quizzes, how do these quizzes work, and what nefarious impacts are they having on us?
How do BuzzFeed Quizzes Work?
BuzzFeed quizzes are actually simple - basically, each question you answer corresponds directly with a result, much like quizzes that used to come in the back of magazines. The person creating the quiz is able to choose which answers pair with each result, which means that a question about which lampshade you prefer can impact which Friends character you’re most like (at least based on how the quizzes are written and set up).
Who makes them?
You may be surprised to learn how easy it is to create a BuzzFeed quiz - Anyone can make one as long as they have a free Buzzfeed account. Then, they just have to:
Add potential results and write descriptions for each.
Create questions with answers that correspond to each result.
Add images or gifs throughout.
Are they accurate?
The short answer is: it depends. Likely, most of the quizzes on Buzzfeed have little to no evidence or data to support any claims. Which may not be a bad thing in the case of some lighthearted, silly quizzes. Because there are no research or source requirements for the quizzes, the creator is able to choose the topic, questions, and answers, as well as how much (or how little) time they want to invest in research.
When you look at how funny and witty some BuzzFeed quizzes are, it’s easy to get pulled in. They’re not all bad. When you lightheartedly take quizzes just to read the funny results that the author wrote, you can begin to see how unbridled creativity can be great entertainment. Even though there are a few problems, there are also some legitimately positive aspects to these quizzes.
They’re fun to take. There are so many creative, interesting options, and when you don’t take them very seriously, it can be funny to laugh at and share your results.
You can pass the quizzes to your friends since they’re so quick and easy to finish. It becomes an easy conversation topic or ice breaker when you have funny results to talk about with others.
When people understand that they aren’t meant to be taken as fact, then they could be a great resource to push everyone toward learning more about themselves through personality, which can be incredibly beneficial for self-improvement.
The problem is that, while the good aspects can be enjoyable, they are currently met with equally bad, if not worse, aspects that can seriously tarnish the fun.
While the good parts of the “BuzzFeed Quiz” movement can be enjoyable, there are a couple of mildly frustrating aspects.
The quizzes create confusion for a lot of people, like kids and young teens, who are taking them. For those who are at a point in their lives where they’re beginning to try defining themselves, it can be confusing to read character descriptions from “VSCO Girl” or “Disney Princess” themed quizzes when they don’t know much about the quizzes and personality insights work.
They allow room, on an already heavily populated site, for ill-informed, potentially offensive quizzes like “Which Ousted Arab Spring Ruler Are You?” and “Wanna Know How Dateable You Are?” - both of which lead to some uncomfortable results.
While “ the bad” may not seem so bad now, the problems become significantly worsened by “the ugly”.
The one, major, lurking problem that affects every single BuzzFeed quiz is the lack of verification, required evidence, and accuracy.
Because anyone can make a quiz, there is little to nothing in place that ensures any sort of accuracy. While this may not be a problem for mindless quizzes, like “Which Character From ‘Pride And Prejudice’ Are You Most Like?” and “Pick Some Disney Princes And We'll Reveal Which Font You Are,” there are quizzes on the site that claim to be legitimate personality assessments. This false and misleading advertising ploy muddles everyone’s understanding of personality in general. When quizzes like this aren’t vetted or data-backed, people miss out on genuine personality insights that may help them truly grow and learn.
These quizzes are created without credibility and research and aren’t offering an unbiased look at someone’s personality. Instead, they seem to be pandering to an audience that is searching for answers, unknowingly looking in the wrong place.
Buzzfeed quizzes can be light-hearted and fun, as long as the ridiculousness of them is fully recognized. Just don’t trust that the insights are legit.
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