BuzzFeed to Use AI for Content Creation after Laying Off Newsroom Staff

BuzzFeed has announced its intention to begin using artificial intelligence (AI) for content creation – after laying off 12% of its newsroom staff in December. BuzzFeed’s co-founder and CEO Jonah Peretti said his company is moving its proposed plan for using AI from the research and development stage to actual implementation.

The publisher said it is partnering with OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, to use AI to generate content for its massive audience in a move calculated to save money and expedite content creation. Peretti said adopting ChatGPT will enable the creation of quizzes, brainstorming sessions, and content personalization to audience needs. He however noted that AI will not be used to write news stories just yet.

“To be clear, we see the breakthroughs in AI opening up a new era of creativity that will allow humans to harness creativity in new ways with endless opportunities and applications for good,” he said. “In publishing, AI can benefit both content creators and audiences, inspiring new ideas and inviting audience members to co-create personalized content.”

Peretti said he has seen the AI at work and that its capabilities are very amazing. He added that it has the potential to revolutionize digital content creation in the future. Although BuzzFeed is not the first digital publisher to embrace using AI to generate content, it is actually the biggest digital publisher yet. CNET tried it recently, but the news stories and articles produced by the AI content had significant errors that ultimately had to be corrected.

“The process may not always be easy or pretty, but we’re going to continue embracing it – and any new tech that we believe makes life better,” said CNET Editor-In-Chief, Connie Guglielmo. She however added that her organization will continue to embrace and fine-tune the AI technology until it becomes perfect for content production.

The Associated Press started using AI for its news automation and aggregation needs nearly 10 years ago. Microsoft also announced early this week that it is committing billions of dollars to ChatGPT, even though it announced later this week that about 10,000 employees will be retrenched due to an economic crunch. It also came to the fore this week that Meta, Facebook’s parent company, had been paying BuzzFeed millions of dollars to generate content for Facebook and Instagram.

After Peretti’s announcement, BuzzFeed’s shares soared to more than $2 per share after jumping by more than 150% during Thursday’s trading.