BuzzFeed has reportedly planned to use artificial intelligence to create most of its content including online quizzes and content, the company announced to employees this week. BuzzFeed Inc.’s shares just rose by as much as 150%, and reached $2.77, as the digital media company announced today that it will start producing a lot more content with OpenAI LLC’s tool, ChatGPT.
Jonah Peretti, the chief executive, announced the efforts in an internal memo.
“In 2023, you’ll see AI-inspired content move from an R&D stage to part of our core business, enhancing the quiz experience, informing our brainstorming, and personalizing our content for our audience,” he said.
The company, according to reporting from the Wall Street Journal, will use technology from the artificial intelligence company OpenAI for its content. The company is also behind ChatGPT, a language model chatbot launched in November 2022 that has widely gained popularity for its ability to replicate human communication.
BuzzFeed is not the first journalism platform to use artificial intelligence. Tech website CNET has reportedly been using an AI tool to generate articles that are later scanned by human editors for accuracy before publication. The platform stated last week that the program had some limitations, as more than half of the stories generated through AI tools had to be edited for errors.
BuzzFeed also hopes the technology will energize its business. The media company has struggled to boost growth, with its stock down nearly 40% over the last year, even with Thursday’s large gain. In its latest quarter, BuzzFeed reported a net loss of $27 million on revenue of $104 million, although sales rose 15 from the year-ago period.
The rise of easily accessible artificial intelligence has introduced a number of ethical quandaries. ChatGPT has been used without permission by students in classes and in one controlled study was reportedly able to pass exams at multiple universities. Many have questioned if the technology could replace human jobs, a debate bolstered by its use in journalistic institutions.
The news sent BuzzFeed stock surging as much as 157% to $2.45 and was on track for its busiest session. Stocks were trading about 50% higher earlier in the day after a separate report by the Journal said Meta was paying BuzzFeed millions of dollars to bring more creators to Facebook and Instagram.
Peretti explained that OpenAI’s starring role at the company will at first be mostly “enhancing the quiz experience, informing our brainstorming, and personalizing our content for our audience.” He added that down the line, he expects AI to play a much bigger role in writing content, although he said humans will always be the company’s main source of content.
BuzzFeed has had a tough time, having to lay off a good chunk of its newsroom employees lately after seeing its share price sink lower and lower through 2022. It would be hard to imagine that any struggling company would snub AI-generated content in place of humans if it saved money.
“When I ask ChatGPT what it thinks is going on with this company, it does what junior executives would do, which is they tell me what they see on a table. They say this parameter went down and this one went up in a very clear, coherent manner. But it doesn’t move beyond that into the ‘so what?'” Columbia Business School professor Oded Netzer said. “These are the types of tasks that require judgment and that humans are still very valuable in.”
The deal, reached last year, was valued at close to $10m and BuzzFeed will help generate content for Meta’s platforms and train creators to grow their presence online, the report said, citing people familiar with the situation. The company said last month it would cut about 12% of its workforce to rein in costs.