BuzzFeed Eyes a Future Collaborating with Meta and OpenAI

BuzzFeed stock jumped last week as news of collaborative efforts with Meta Platforms and OpenAI began circulating. The New York-based digital media firm famous for viral content said it is using OpenAI’s artificial intelligence to enhance lists, quizzes and other content. Meanwhile, a 2022 deal valued at close to $10 million with Meta Platforms is seeing results as BuzzFeed trains creators to expand their online presence and generate content for Meta’s social platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. BuzzFeed shares, which were trading at under $1 through January, rose to $3.87 in after-hours trading on Friday.

The company used a SPAC to go public on Nasdaq in December 2021, when shares were trading between $8 and $9.

“To fulfill the promise of our mission, we need to build a stronger business foundation by executing a forward-looking strategy,” BuzzFeed CEO and co-founder Jonah Peretti wrote employees in a memo reported by Yahoo News, which said the executive emphasized “creators like celebrities, athletes, and influencers, along with artificial intelligence, as the future of digital media over the next three years.”

“We must look ahead and shift our business towards longer term trends in order to seize the opportunities that will come in the eventual recovery,” Peretti wrote, according to Yahoo.

BuzzFeed confirmed to Reuters that it is using “OpenAI’s publicly available API,” not ChatGPT. Peretti “expects AI to assist the creative process and enhance the company’s content, while humans play the role of providing ideas, ‘cultural currency,’ and ‘inspired prompts,’” The Wall Street Journal quotes from his memo, noting that in 15 years “he expects AI and data to help ‘create, personalize, and animate the content itself,’ rather than just curate existing content.”

As for the collaboration with Meta, it leverages an ongoing relationship between the companies. “BuzzFeed largely built its business on content that went viral on Facebook, and the social-media giant has regularly looked to the publisher for help in tapping into trends in Internet culture,” according to a separate article in The Wall Street Journal.

Now, with increased competition from the likes of TikTok — which WSJ says grew its global user base by 18 percent in 2022, when Facebook was flat and Instagram grew 2.75 percent, according to eMarketer — attention has shifted to a creator economy. Last year, amidst other cutbacks, Meta said it was ending payments to the traditional news publishers that populated its News tabs and redirecting those resources toward the burgeoning creator business.

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