What Happened After BuzzFeed’s Pivot to AI: Catastrophic Stock Collapse

The ur-viral content site BuzzFeed has often served as a trailblazer — and sometimes a canary in the coal mine — for the digital media industry. Now, its struggle to succeed after a pivot to artificial intelligence could signal tough times ahead for publishers that choose a similar path. The media company’s stock has been sliding ever since it went public in 2021, but as it dipped below a dollar per share around the beginning of this year, CEO Jonah Peretti announced an apparent Hail Mary: AI. Peretti explained in a memo to employees that the media company’s namesake platform would begin to dip its toes in AI waters with so-called “Infinity Quizzes,” or AI-integrated riffs on the site’s famous “What Kind of Bread Would You Be If You Were Also a Katy Perry Song?”-type quizzes. His hope, he said at the time, was to usher in a “new model for digital media that is more personalized, more creative, more dynamic — where really talented people who work at our company are able to use AI together and entertain and personalize more than you could ever do without AI.” At first, investors were clearly thrilled by the notion of AI integration, with BuzzFeed’s stock tripling in value to nearly $4 per share. Despite that initial enthusiasm, however, reality soon dampened the concept. A few months later, we noticed that BuzzFeed wasn’t just publishing quizzes; it was also using AI to quietly churn out repetitive, dull, and overall poorly-written travel guides. In April,…What Happened After BuzzFeed’s Pivot to AI: Catastrophic Stock Collapse

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