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Web address www.upworthy.com
Commercial? Yes
Available in English
Created by Eli Pariser and Peter Koechley
Editor Sara Critchfield[1]
Launched March 2012; 2 years ago (2012-03)

Upworthy is a website for viral content started in March 2012 by Eli Pariser, the former executive director of MoveOn, and Peter Koechley, the former managing editor of The Onion. One of Facebook's co-founders, Chris Hughes, was an early investor.[2][3][4]

Upworthy's stated mission is to host the intersection of the "awesome", the "meaningful" and the "visual."[3] It uses virality to promote stories with a progressive bent on political and social issues. [5]


In late 2012, Upworthy announced that it had raised $4 million from New Enterprise Associates and angel investors.[6]

In June 2013, an article in Fast Company called Upworthy "the fastest growing media site of all time".[7]

Upworthy popularized a certain style of headline, particularly a style of two-phrase headline which is very recognizable, which has spread to many other websites.[8] Examples of such Upworthy style headlines are:

  • "We Don’t Hear Enough From Native American Voices. Here’s An Inspiring Message From One."[9]
  • "Someone Gave Some Kids Some Scissors. Here’s What Happened Next."[10]

It has been criticized for its use of overly sensationalized, emotionally manipulative "click-bait" style headlines, as well as being liberally biased and focusing on issues that are controversial by nature.[11][12][13][14]


  1. ^ The woman behind Upworthy's viral explosion
  2. ^ Carr, David (March 26, 2012), New Site Wants to Make the Serious as Viral as the Shallow, The New York Times, retrieved April 11, 2012 
  3. ^ a b Pilkington, Ed (March 26, 2012), New media gurus launch Upworthy – their 'super-basic' internet start-up, The Guardian, retrieved April 11, 2012 
  4. ^ Gannes, Liz (March 26, 2012), Viral With a Purpose? Upworthy Finds Serious Web Content Worth Sharing., AllThingsD, retrieved April 11, 2012 
  5. ^ Viral Content with a Liberal Bent, NYTimes, retrieved March 12, 2014 
  6. ^ Gannes, Liz (October 16, 2012), With Six Million Uniques, Upworthy Gets $4M From NEA to Find More Virals That Aren’t Cat Videos, All Things Digital, retrieved February 21, 2013 
  7. ^ How Upworthy Used Emotional Data To Become The Fastest Growing Media Site of All Time | Fast Company | Business + Innovation
  8. ^ Why Are Upworthy Headlines Suddenly Everywhere? - Robinson Meyer - The Atlantic
  9. ^ We Don’t Hear Enough From Native American Voices. Here’s An Inspiring Message From One
  10. ^ Someone Gave Some Kids Some Scissors. Here’s What Happened Next
  11. ^ Read this to find out how Upworthy's awful headlines changed the web | Media | The Guardian
  12. ^ Create Your Own Overly Emotional, Click-Baiting Headline With the Upworthy Generator | Adweek
  13. ^ "Upworthy Used to Have Huge Traffic. What Happened Next Will Blow Your Mind". TechnologyTell. 2014-02-11. Retrieved 2014-06-16. 
  14. ^ The Rise Of Clickbait Spoilers: Bloggers Expose What’s Behind Upworthy’s Histrionic Headlines