BuzzFeed just announced it’s going to use A.I. to start creating content—and the stock market loves it

January 26, 2023, 9:39 PM UTC
Founder and CEO of BuzzFeed Jonah H. Peretti (C) celebrates with team members as he rings the bell during BuzzFeed Inc.'s Listing Day at Nasdaq in December 2021.
Buzzfeed said that it will use OpenAI's technology to help create quizzes and personalized content.
Bennett Raglin—Getty Images for BuzzFeed Inc.

All anyone can talk about these days is artificial intelligence. It’s the hot topic, with the rise of DALL-E, the A.I. art generation tool, and now ChatGPT, which has proved to be a shockingly capable writing assistant. 

They both have one thing in common—they were created by OpenAI, a lab with both for-profit and nonprofit arms.

The buzz about the research lab hasn’t stopped just yet. Now digital media company Buzzfeed says that it will use OpenAI’s technology to help create quizzes and personalized content, according to a Wall Street Journal report on Thursday. 

That sent Buzzfeed’s stock soaring as much as 150% in afternoon trading before pulling back to a 110% gain, to just above $2. Earlier this week, the shares had been below $1, or down more than 90% since they started publicly trading after Buzzfeed merged with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) in 2021.  

What’s also driving up the stock price is Facebook parent Meta’s announcement late Wednesday that it will pay Buzzfeed millions of dollars to push more creators to make content on Meta’s platforms. The deal is valued at nearly $10 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Buzzfeed is looking to grow its presence among creators, which aligns with Meta’s push to compete with TikTok.

In an internal memo Thursday, Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti told employees that “the creative process will increasingly become A.I.-assisted and technology-enabled,” meaning that A.I. would help automatically create content instead of humans doing the work.  

The Journal cited an example not included in the memo in which Peretti described how quizzes created by A.I. would be personalized for readers. The technology could also assist in creating other kinds of content.

“If the past 15 years of the internet have been defined by algorithmic feeds that curate and recommend content, the next 15 years will be defined by A.I. and data helping create, personalize, and animate the content itself,” Peretti wrote in his memo.

Newsrooms have experimented with A.I. before, and they haven’t all been successful. For several months, technology news site CNET used A.I. to publish online articles—with disclosures that readers had to dig for to see—that were recently found to include inaccuracies. Last week, the outlet told employees that it would stop using the technology.  

“We didn’t do it in secret,” CNET editor-in-chief Connie Guglielmo reportedly told employees in a call last week, The Verge reported. “We did it quietly.”

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