US Buzzfeed to lay off employees after 12 years in operation, closes
CEO Jonah Peretti confirms that 15% of employees will be laid off and Buzzfeed News will be closed down.
According to The Washington Post on Thursday, US online media outlet BuzzFeed News will start laying off employees after being in operation for 12 years.
A memorandum was sent to staff by co-founder and CEO Jonah Peretti, confirming that 15% of employees will be laid off and Buzzfeed News will be closed down. However, the Washington Post cites that BuzzFeed and its sister company HuffPost will remain in operation.
Peretti blamed the Covid-19 pandemic measures, a tech recession, an inflation-fighting economy, a deteriorating stock market, a worse digital advertising market, and ongoing audience and platform shifts, as a package of reasons as to why the news website is being shut down.
Buzzfeed furloughed nearly 180 employees in December last year, which Peretti blamed on the economic crisis and the changes in how people are using media.
Struggling financially, Buzzfeed was valued at a worth of $1.7 billion in 2021 and attracted investors like Vice and Vox when it launched in the 2010s. But BuzzFeed shares plunged, losing more than three-quarters of their value after merging with a special purpose acquisition company known as Spac. Its worth is now around $340 million.
Back in 2021, BuzzFeed News' correspondent Megha Rajagopalan won the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting for publishing a series of articles investigating the alleged imprisonment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, China.
The news site became famous and well-known for the first time after publishing the Steele dossier in 2017, which alleged intimate ties between former US president Donald Trump and Russia.
This news comes as BuzzFeed, known for its pop culture articles, quizzes, and "listicles", announced in January that it would start using artificial intelligence (AI) to write its content.
Peretti said he intends to increase AI across BuzzFeed’s editorial output and business operations this year and relayed his expectations of AI to improve creativity and content, but humans would still have their role in providing "cultural currency" and "inspired prompts".
He set a timeline of 15 years for AI to "create, personalize, and animate the content itself".