|This article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2012)|
|Headquarters||New York City, New York, USA|
Peggy Wang, Senior Editor
Ze Frank, Executive Vice President
Jason Kottke, Advisor
|Slogan(s)||"The Media Company for the Social Age"|
|Alexa rank||111 (September 2014[update])|
|Type of site||News & Entertainment|
BuzzFeed is an internet news media company. Founded in 2006 in New York City as a viral lab by Jonah Peretti, the company has grown into a global media and technology company providing coverage of topics like politics, DIY, animals and business. In 2012, Ben Smith of Politico was hired as Editor-in-Chief, and is responsible for trying to expand the site into serious journalism, long-form and reportage while maintaining its popular fun and entertainment-oriented content. The site was rocked by scandal in July 2014 after it was discovered one of its politics writers, Benny Johnson, had plagiarized from other sources more than 40 times. On August 10, BuzzFeed announced they had received an additional $50 million in funding from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.
In the early days, “BuzzFeed Labs” was created by BuzzFeed editors as an ongoing initiative to test, track and create viral content on the web. With no set release schedule, past projects were conducted sporadically. They included: attempting to break a beer bottle in half for use as a shiv in a bar fight, citizen journalism investigating a fire on the Manhattan Bridge, and the creation of a giant energy malt liquor drink using a forty ounce beer and a can of Red Bull.
In August 2014, the site raised $50 million from the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, more than doubling previous rounds of funding. The site was reportedly valued at around $850 million by Andreessen Horowitz.
BuzzFeed produces an average of 378 posts a day featuring the work of staff reporters, contributors, syndicated cartoon artists, and its community. Popular formats on site include lists and quizzes.
BuzzFeed Video produces original content with a production studio and team based in Los Angeles. Since hiring Ze Frank in 2012, BuzzFeed Video has produced shows like "The Creepiest Series" and "Fun Facts." In August 2014, the company announced a new division, BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, which may produce feature-length films.
BuzzFeed's YouTube channel have reached over 1.1 billion views with approximately 3 million subscribers.
Every registered user of BuzzFeed owns their own profile and feed that contains links to their most recent contributions to the site. The user also owns a scoreboard of how many times these users' posts have been featured on the homepage or awarded "Cat Power" by the staff.
BuzzFeed continues to test and track their custom content with an in-house team of data scientists and external-facing “social dashboard.” Staff writers are ranked by views on an internal leaderboard. BuzzFeed gets 75% of its views from social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook.
BuzzFeed has been accused of copying original content from competitors throughout the online and offline press. On June 28, 2012, Gawker's Adrian Chen posted a story titled "BuzzFeed and the Plagiarism Problem". On March 8, 2013, The Atlantic Wire addressed a similar issue.
BuzzFeed has also been the subject of copyright infringement lawsuits for both using content it had no rights to and encouraging its proliferation without attributing its sources: one, for an individual photographer's photograph, and another, for nine celebrity photographs from a single photography company.
In July 2014, BuzzFeed writer Benny Johnson was accused of multiple instances of plagiarism. Two anonymous Twitter users chronicled Johnson attributing work that was not his own. Johnson had "directly lifting from other reporters, Wikipedia, and Yahoo! Answers," all without credit. BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith initially defended Johnson, calling him a "deeply original writer". Days later, Smith acknowledged that Johnson had plagiarized others' work 40 times, announced that Johnson had been fired, and apologized to BuzzFeed readers. "Plagiarism, much less copying unchecked facts from Wikipedia or other sources, is an act of disrespect to the reader," Smith said. "We are deeply embarrassed and sorry to have misled you." In total, 41 instances of plagiarism were found and corrected.
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