BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed, Inc. is an American Internet media, news and entertainment company with a focus on digital media; it is based in New York City.[5] BuzzFeed was founded in 2006 by Jonah Peretti and John S. Johnson III, to focus on tracking viral content. Kenneth Lerer, co-founder and chairman of The Huffington Post, started as a co-founder and investor in BuzzFeed and is now the executive chairman, as well.

Originally known for online quizzes, "listicles", and pop culture articles, the company has grown into a global media and technology company, providing coverage on a variety of topics including politics, DIY, animals, and business.[6][7] In late 2011, Buzzfeed hired Ben Smith of Politico as editor-in-chief, to expand the site into serious journalism, long-form journalism, and reportage.[8] After years of investment in investigative journalism, BuzzFeed News had by 2018 won the National Magazine Award[9] and the George Polk Award,[10] and been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize[9][11] and the Michael Kelly Award.[9]

Despite BuzzFeed's entrance into serious journalism, a 2014 Pew Research Center survey found that in the United States, BuzzFeed was viewed as an unreliable source by the majority of respondents, regardless of age or political affiliation.[12] BuzzFeed News has since moved to its own domain rather than exist as a section of the main BuzzFeed website.[13]

BuzzFeed, Inc.
BuzzFeed
Type of businessPrivate
Type of site
Entertainment
News
Available inEnglish
French
Spanish
Arabic
German
Portuguese
Japanese
FoundedNovember 1, 2006
Headquarters
New York City
,
U.S.
Key peopleJonah Peretti
(co-founder and CEO)
John S. Johnson III
(co-founder)
RevenueDecrease US$167 million (2015)[1][2]
Employees1,701 (December 2017)[3]
Websitewww.buzzfeed.com
Alexa rankNegative increase 273 (October 2018)[4]
AdvertisingNative
RegistrationOptional
Current statusActive

History

Jonah-peretti
Jonah Peretti founded BuzzFeed in November 2006.

Prior to establishing BuzzFeed, Peretti was director of research and development and the OpenLab at Eyebeam, Johnson's New York City-based art and technology nonprofit, where he experimented with other viral media.[14][15]

While working at the Huffington Post, Peretti started BuzzFeed (originally called BuzzFeed Laboratories)[16] as a side project, in 2006, in partnership with his former supervisor John Johnson. In the beginning, BuzzFeed employed no writers or editors, just an "algorithm to cull stories from around the web that were showing stirrings of virality."[17] The site initially launched an instant messaging client, BuzzBot, which messaged users a link to popular content. The messages were sent based on algorithms which examined the links that were being quickly disseminated, scouring through the feeds of hundreds of blogs that were aggregating them. Later, the site began spotlighting the most popular links that BuzzBot found. Peretti hired curators to help describe the content that was popular around the web.[18] In 2011, Peretti hired Politico's Ben Smith, who earlier had achieved much attention as a political blogger, to assemble a news operation in addition to the many aggregated "listicles".[19]

In 2016, BuzzFeed formally separated its news and entertainment content into BuzzFeed News and the newly formed BuzzFeed Entertainment Group, which also includes BuzzFeed Motion Pictures.[20][21] As of 2016, BuzzFeed had correspondents from 12 countries,[22] and foreign editions in Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Spain, and the United Kingdom.[23] By the end of 2017, BuzzFeed employed around 1,700 employees worldwide, although it announced plans in November of that year to lay off around 100 employees in the U.S., 45 in the U.K.,[3][24][25] and 100 in France in June 2018.[26]

On January 23, 2019, BuzzFeed notified all employees via memo that there would be an upcoming 15% reduction in workforce affecting the international, web content, and news divisions of the company. The layoffs would affect approximately 200 employees.[27]

Funding

In August 2014, BuzzFeed raised $50 million from the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, more than doubling previous rounds of funding.[28] The site was reportedly valued at around $850 million by Andreessen Horowitz.[28] BuzzFeed generates its advertising revenue through native advertising that matches its own editorial content, and does not rely on banner ads.[18] BuzzFeed also uses its familiarity with social media to target conventional advertising through other channels, such as Facebook.[29]

In December 2014, growth equity firm General Atlantic acquired $50 million in secondary stock of the company.[30]

In August 2015, NBCUniversal made a $200 million equity investment in BuzzFeed.[31] Along with plans to hire more journalists to build a more prominent "investigative" unit, BuzzFeed is hiring journalists around the world and plans to open outposts in India, Germany, Mexico, and Japan.[32]

In October 2016, BuzzFeed raised $200 million from Comcast's TV and movie arm NBCUniversal, at a valuation of roughly $1.7 billion.[33]

Acquisitions

BuzzFeed's first acquisition was in 2012 when the company purchased Kingfish Labs, a startup founded by Rob Fishman, initially focused on optimizing Facebook ads.[34]

On October 28, 2014, BuzzFeed announced its next acquisition, taking hold of Torando Labs. The Torando team was to become BuzzFeed's first data engineering team.[35]

Content

BuzzFeed produces daily content, in which the work of staff reporters, contributors, syndicated cartoon artists, and its community are featured. Popular formats on the website include lists, videos, and quizzes. The style of such content inspired the parody website ClickHole.[6][36] While BuzzFeed initially was focused exclusively on such viral content, according to The New York Times, "it added more traditional content, building a track record for delivering breaking news and deeply reported articles" in the years up to 2014.[37] In that year, BuzzFeed deleted over 4000 early posts, "apparently because, as time passed, they looked stupider and stupider", as observed by The New Yorker.[38]

BuzzFeed consistently ranked at the top of NewsWhip's "Facebook Publisher Rankings" from December 2013 to April 2014, until The Huffington Post entered the position.[39]

News

BuzzFeed's news division began in December 2011 with the appointment of Ben Smith as editor-in-chief. In 2013, Pulitzer Prize winner Mark Schoofs of ProPublica was hired as head of investigative reporting.[40] By 2016, BuzzFeed had 20 investigative journalists.[9]

Video

BuzzFeed Video, BuzzFeed Motion Picture's flagship YouTube channel,[41] produces original content. Its production studio and team are based in Los Angeles. Since hiring Ze Frank in 2012, BuzzFeed Video has produced several video series, including "The Try Guys". In August 2014, the company announced a new division, BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, which may produce feature-length films.[37] As of August 27, 2018, BuzzFeed Video's YouTube channel had garnered more than 13.8 billion views and more than 17.2 million subscribers.[42] BuzzFeed later announced that YouTube signed on for two feature-length series to be created by BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, entitled Broke and Squad Wars.[43]

Community

On July 17, 2012, humor website McSweeney's Internet Tendency published a satirical piece entitled "Suggested BuzzFeed Articles",[44] prompting BuzzFeed to create many of the suggestions.[45][46][47][48] BuzzFeed listed McSweeney's as a "Community Contributor."[45] The post subsequently received more than 350,000 page views,[46] prompted BuzzFeed to ask for user submissions,[45][49] and received media attention.[46][47][49][50] Subsequently, the website launched the "Community" section in May 2013 to enable users to submit content. Users initially are limited to publishing only one post per day, but may increase their submission capacity by raising their "Cat Power",[51] described on the BuzzFeed website as "an official measure of your rank in BuzzFeed's Community." A user's Cat Power increases as they achieve greater prominence on the site.[52]

Technology and social media

BuzzFeed receives the majority of its traffic by creating content that is shared on social media websites. BuzzFeed works by judging their content on how viral it will become, operating in a "continuous feedback loop" where all of its articles and videos are used as input for its sophisticated data operation.[29] The site continues to test and track their custom content with an in-house team of data scientists and an external-facing "social dashboard." Using an algorithm dubbed "Viral Rank" created by Jonah Peretti and Duncan Watts, the company uses this formula to let editors, users, and advertisers try many different ideas, which maximizes distribution.[53] Staff writers are ranked by views on an internal leaderboard. In 2014, BuzzFeed received 75% of its views from links on social media outlets such as Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.[18][37]

Tasty

BuzzFeed's video series on comfort food, Tasty, is made for Facebook, where it has 98 million followers as of January 2019. The channel has substantially more views than BuzzFeed's dedicated food site.[54] The channel included five spinoff segments: "Tasty Junior"—which eventually spun off into its own page,[55] "Tasty Happy Hour" (alcoholic beverages), "Tasty Fresh", "Tasty Vegetarian", and "Tasty Story"—which has celebrities making and discussing their own recipes. Tasty has also released a cookbook.[56] The company also operates these international versions of Tasty in other languages. Tasty has also released its own kitchenware, which includes several products such as spatulas, cooking sheets, and mixing bowls. These products are sold in collaboration with Walmart.[57]Tasty also sells their "One Top", which is a smart induction cooktop,[58] as well as "Tasty Kits", which are kits that contains cooking items for cooking at home.[59]

Worth It

Since 2016, Tasty also sponsors a show named Worth It starring Steven Lim, Andrew Ilnyckyj, and Adam Bianchi.[60] In each episode, the trio visit three different food places with three drastically different price points in one food category. Steven Lim also stars in BuzzFeed Blue's "Worth It – Lifestyle" videos. The series is similar, in that three items or experiences are valued from different companies, each at their different price point, but focus on material items and experiences, such as plane seats, hotel rooms, and haircuts.

BuzzFeed Unsolved

BuzzFeed Unsolved is the most successful web series on BuzzFeed's BuzzFeed Multiplayer, created by Ryan Bergara. The show features Bergara and Shane Madej (who replaced original co-host Brent Bennett). The show covers some of history's most famous unsolved mysteries, presenting them and the theories that surround them in a comedic manner. In some episodes, they even visit the places involved with the mystery, often ghost hunting during Supernatural episodes.

The Try Guys

The Try Guys are a quartet of friends (Eugene Lee Yang, Ned Fulmer, Keith Habersberger, and Zach Kornfeld) who put themselves in different, and at times, compromising situations and record the results.[61] In June 2018, the four left BuzzFeed and created their own independent channel, also titled "The Try Guys".[62]

Night In / Night Out

Night In/Night Out is a series run by Ned and Ariel Fulmer. This show features the couple on two different dates, one at home featuring a homemade meal (using a BuzzFeed Tasty Recipe) and one at a restaurant in the Los Angeles area. Each episode focuses on one particular meal, such as baked salmon or hamburgers. At the end of each episode, Ned and Ariel decide whether they preferred the home-cooked meal (and the accompanying ambiance and price tag) or the meal at the restaurant. Ned and Ariel recently left BuzzFeed and was subsequently canceled. [63]

Notable stories

"The dress"

In February 2015, a post resulting in a debate over the color of an item of clothing from BuzzFeed's Tumblr editor Cates Holderness garnered more than 28 million views in one day, setting a record for most concurrent visitors to a BuzzFeed post.[65] Holderness had shown the picture to other members of the site's social media team, who immediately began arguing about the dress colors among themselves. After creating a simple poll for users of the site, she left work and took the subway back to her Brooklyn home. When she got off the train and checked her telephone, it was overwhelmed by the messages on various sites. "I couldn't open Twitter because it kept crashing. I thought somebody had died, maybe. I didn't know what was going on." Later in the evening the page set a new record at BuzzFeed for concurrent visitors, which reached 673,000 at its peak.[64][66]

Watermelon stunt

On April 8, 2016, two BuzzFeed interns created a live stream on Facebook, during which rubber bands were wrapped one by one around a watermelon until the pressure caused it to explode. The Daily Dot compared it to something from America's Funniest Home Videos or by the comedian Gallagher, and "just as stupid-funny, but with incredible immediacy and zero production costs". The video is seen as part of Facebook's strategy to shift to live video, Facebook Live, to counter the rise of Snapchat and Periscope among a younger audience.[67]

Awards and recognition

In 2017, BuzzFeed won Webby Awards for Best News App and Best Interview/Talk Show (for Another Round),[68] and president Greg Coleman was named Publishing Executive of the Year by Digiday.[69]

Criticism and controversies

Plagiarism

Benny Johnson (12555523704)
Benny Johnson was fired from BuzzFeed in July 2014 for plagiarism.

BuzzFeed has been accused of plagiarizing original content from competitors throughout the online and offline press. In June 2012, Gawker's Adrian Chen observed that one of BuzzFeed's most popular writers—Matt Stopera—frequently had copied and pasted "chunks of text into lists without attribution."[70] In March 2013, The Atlantic Wire also reported several "listicles" had apparently been copied from Reddit and other websites.[71] In July 2014, BuzzFeed writer Benny Johnson was accused of multiple instances of plagiarism.[72] Two anonymous Twitter users chronicled Johnson attributing work that was not his own, but "directly lift[ed] from other reporters, Wikipedia, and Yahoo! Answers", all without credit.[73] BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith initially defended Johnson, calling him a "deeply original writer".[74] Days later, Smith acknowledged that Johnson had plagiarized the work of others 40 times and announced that Johnson had been fired, apologizing 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."[74] In total, 41 instances of plagiarism were found and corrected.[75] In 2016, claims surfaced of the YouTube channel BuzzFeedVideo stealing ideas and content from other creators.[76] Among the accusers are YouTube users Akilah Obviously, Cr1TiKaL(penguinz0)[77] and JaclynGlenn.[78]

BuzzFeed has been the subject of multiple 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,[79] and another for nine celebrity photographs from a single photography company.[80]

Accuracy and reliability

In October 2014, a Pew Research Center survey[81] found that in the United States, BuzzFeed was viewed as an unreliable source by the majority of people, regardless of political affiliation.[82][83] Adweek noted that most respondents had not heard of BuzzFeed, and many users do not consider BuzzFeed a news site.[84] In a subsequent Pew report based on 2014 surveys,[85] BuzzFeed was among the least trusted sources by millennials.[86][87] A 2016 study by the Columbia Journalism Review found readers less likely to trust a story (originally published in Mother Jones) that appeared to originate on BuzzFeed than the same article on The New Yorker website.[88]

In 2013, Buzzfeed named "My Lips are for Blowing" as one of "21 Awkwardly Sexual Albums"; the Museum of Hoaxes subsequently reported there was no such album and that the image of the album used in the Buzzfeed article had been lifted from a 2010 fictitious album cover design created by a blogger going by the name Estancia de la Ding Dong.[89]

On January 18, 2019, Robert Mueller's office disputed a BuzzFeed report stating that Donald Trump instructed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress. A spokesman for Mueller's office characterized the BuzzFeed report as "not accurate".[90]

Unpaid contributors

Matthew Perpetua, BuzzFeed's director of quizzes, published a blog post in January 2019 after being laid off, revealing that many of the site's most popular quizzes were created by unpaid contributors.[91] Perpetua identified one college student in Michigan in particular was "the second-highest traffic driver worldwide."[92] The student, Rachel McMahon said that until she saw Perpetua's blog post, she never knew that her quizzes were so significant for BuzzFeed's traffic. According to the Detroit Free Press, she had never asked BuzzFeed about getting paid and the only material goods she received from them were four $30 Amazon gift certificates, a BuzzFeed sweatshirt and T-shirt and several water bottles.[93][94]

Advertiser influence on editorial

In April 2015, BuzzFeed drew scrutiny after Gawker observed the publication had deleted two posts that criticized advertisers.[95] One of the posts criticized Dove soap (manufactured by Unilever), while another criticized Hasbro.[96] Both companies advertise with BuzzFeed. Ben Smith apologized in a memo to staff for his actions. "I blew it," Smith wrote. "Twice in the past couple of months, I've asked editors—over their better judgment and without any respect to our standards or process—to delete recently published posts from the site. Both involved the same thing: my overreaction to questions we've been wrestling with about the place of personal opinion pieces on our site. I reacted impulsively when I saw the posts and I was wrong to do that. We've reinstated both with a brief note."[97] Days later, one of the authors of the deleted posts, Arabelle Sicardi, resigned.[98] An internal review by the company found three additional posts deleted for being critical of products or advertisements (by Microsoft, Pepsi, and Unilever).[99]

In 2016, the Advertising Standards Authority of the United Kingdom ruled that BuzzFeed broke the UK advertising rules for failing to make it clear that an article on "14 Laundry Fails We've All Experienced" that promoted Dylon was an online advertorial paid for by the brand.[100][101] Although the ASA agreed with BuzzFeed's defense that links to the piece from its homepage and search results clearly labelled the article as "sponsored content," this failed to take into account that individuals might link to the story directly, ruling that the labeling "was not sufficient to make clear that the main content of the web page was an advertorial and that editorial content was therefore retained by the advertiser."[101][102]

Hiring practices

In February 2016, Scaachi Koul, a Senior Writer for BuzzFeed Canada, tweeted a request for pitches stating that BuzzFeed was "...looking for mostly non-white non-men" followed by "If you are a white man upset that we are looking mostly for non-white non-men I don't care about you go write for Maclean's." When confronted, she followed with the tweet "White men are still permitted to pitch, I will read it, I will consider it. I'm just less interested because, ugh, men." In response to the tweets, Koul received numerous rape and death threats and racist insults.[103][104] Sarmishta Subramanian, a former colleague of Koul's, writing for Maclean's, condemned the reaction to the tweets, and commented that Koul's request for diversity was appropriate. Subramanian said that her provocative approach raised concerns of tokenism that might hamper BuzzFeed's stated goals.[105]

Ideology

BuzzFeed states in its editorial guide that "we firmly believe that for a number of issues, including civil rights, women's rights, anti-racism, and LGBT equality, there are not two sides".[106] This has raised questions about whether BuzzFeed undermines its credibility by taking sides on political issues.[107][108] In June 2015, BuzzFeed and websites like the Huffington Post and Mashable temporarily changed the theme of their social media avatars to rainbow colors to celebrate same-sex marriage being ruled constitutional in the United States.[109]

In June 2016, the left-leaning media watchdog Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting found that in 100 BuzzFeed stories about Barack Obama, 65 were positive, 34 were neutral, and one was critical. The report called BuzzFeed's coverage of Obama "creepy" and "almost uniformly uncritical and often sycophantic".[110] BuzzFeed has partnered with Obama on a get-out-the-vote campaign.[111] Also in June 2016, BuzzFeed cancelled an advertising agreement with the Republican National Committee over what BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti called "offensive remarks" made by Donald Trump. Peretti said, “We certainly don't like to turn away revenue that funds all the important work we do across the company. However, in some cases we must make business exceptions: we don't run cigarette ads because they are hazardous to our health, and we won't accept Trump ads for the exact same reason.”[112]

In January 2017, BuzzFeed released what became known as the "Steele dossier", an uncorroborated private intelligence report that alleges several salacious accusations of Trump. Margaret Sullivan at The Washington Post wrote of the release, "It's a bad idea, and always has been, to publish unverified smears". [113] David Graham at The Atlantic called it "an abdication of the basic responsibility of journalism".[114] NBC's Chuck Todd called the release of the document "fake news".[115] Ben Smith defended the decision to release the document from accusations that it did it out of partisanship arguing that the dossier is of "obvious central public importance."[116]

See also

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Further reading

  • Küng, Lucy (2015). "BuzzFeed – Making Life More Interesting for the Hundreds of Millions Bored at Work". Innovators in Digital News. I. B. Tauris & Co. pp. 55–74. ISBN 978-1784534165.

External links

Anthony Cormier

Anthony Cormier is an award-winning American journalist with BuzzFeed News, and formerly with the Tampa Bay Times and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Cormier was a co-recipient of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting.

Baked Alaska (activist)

Anthime "Tim" Gionet (born November 16, 1987), more commonly known as Baked Alaska, is an American far right neo-Nazi activist, and a member of the alt-right.

Barbie Storymaker

Barbie Storymaker is a 1997 movie-making kit video game by Mattel Media, within the Barbie franchise. Buzzfeed described it as a virtual representation of doll-playing. SuperKids felt it was a great way for mothers and daughters to create stories together. The Independent praised the title for teaching players both computer skills but film-production techniques.

Ben Smith (journalist)

Benjamin Eli Smith (born 1976) is an American journalist. He is the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News.

BuzzFeed News

BuzzFeed News is an American news website published by BuzzFeed.

BuzzFeed Unsolved

BuzzFeed Unsolved (also known as simply Unsolved) is an American documentary entertainment television series created and produced by Ryan Bergara. It originally aired on YouTube on February 4, 2016, and has run for nine seasons.BuzzFeed Unsolved follows Ryan Bergara and co-host Shane Madej who discuss unsolved crimes, haunted places, alleged demonic possessions and historical occurrences. While the topics of discussion are often morbid, most episodes are presented in some form of a comedic manner. The show is filmed primarily in Los Angeles with some episodes having parts filmed across the U.S, and even some in other countries.

The show has also become a ratings hit for BuzzFeed, regularly featuring as one of the network's most-watched shows. Prior to the premiere of the eighth season, BuzzFeed renewed the show for a ninth season, set to air in late 2018.The show's success has also spawned a spin-off dedicated to sports, which airs on Facebook Watch. Bergara and Zack Evans host the series.

ClickHole

ClickHole (temporarily known as Cruft and PatriotHole) is a satirical website from The Onion that parodies clickbait websites such as BuzzFeed and Upworthy. It was launched on June 12, 2014, in conjunction with The Onion's decision to stop its print edition and shift its focus exclusively to the internet. According to ClickHole's senior editor, Jermaine Affonso, the website "is The Onion's response to click-bait content" and serves as "a parody of online media". Critics noted that, on a deeper level, ClickHole illustrates the shallow nature of social media content and media sites' desperation to share such content.

Clickbait

Clickbait is a text or thumbnail link that is designed to entice users to follow that link and read, view, or listen to the linked piece of online content. Click-bait headlines typically aim to exploit the "curiosity gap", providing just enough information to make readers of news websites curious, but not enough to satisfy their curiosity without clicking through to the linked content.

Film School Rejects

Film School Rejects is an American blog devoted to movie reviews, interviews, film industry news, and feature commentary. It was founded by Neil Miller in February 2006.The site was nominated for Best News Blog by Total Film magazine and named one of the 50 best blogs for filmmakers by MovieMaker magazine. Its weekly podcast, Reject Radio, was voted as the fourth best podcast for movie fans by Movies.com.Film School Rejects and its contributors have been featured and quoted in regional and national media outlets, including The New York Times, CNN, the Los Angeles Times, Mashable, and American Public Media. The site's April Fools' Day pranks have been covered on MTV, Fandango, and BuzzFeed.

Follow This

Follow This is an American documentary television series produced by BuzzFeed. The show was released on Netflix on August 23, 2018. Netflix ordered 20 episodes for the show, initially releasing the first 7 episodes in August 2018, with 7 more episodes in September and 6 more episodes in November 2018.Each episode of the show focuses on a different topic, with episode subjects including intersex, "men's rights", and ASMR. Episodes are hosted by BuzzFeed reporters.In January 2019, Netflix decided not to order a second season of the show.

Jonah Peretti

Jonah Peretti (born January 1, 1974) is an American Internet entrepreneur, a co-founder and the CEO of BuzzFeed , co-founder of The Huffington Post, and developer of reblogging under the project "Reblog".

MTV News

MTV News is the news production division of MTV. The service is available in the US with localized versions on MTV's global network. In February 2016, MTV Networks confirmed it would refresh the MTV News brand in 2016, to compete with the likes of BuzzFeed and Vice, however by mid-2017 MTV News was significantly downsized due to cutbacks.MTV News content is available from respective MTV websites, Apps, YouTube and on-air.

In November 2018, MTV News will produce daily updates on Twitter titled MTV News: You Need To Know.

Mark Schoofs

Mark Schoofs is an American journalist and head of the investigative reporting division at BuzzFeed. He was formerly senior editor at ProPublica from 2011 to 2013, and an investigative reporter at The Wall Street Journal for over a decade. He previously wrote for The Village Voice, where he won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for an eight-part series on AIDS in Africa. Schoofs graduated magna cum laude from Yale University in 1985 with a degree in Philosophy, and has taught journalism at Yale. He has been awarded multiple Science Journalism Awards from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The Rumpus

The Rumpus is an online literary magazine founded by Stephen Elliott, and launched on January 20, 2009. The site features interviews, book reviews, essays, comics, and critiques of creative culture as well as original fiction and poetry. The site runs two subscription-based book clubs and two subscription-based letters programs, Letters in the Mail and Letters for Kids.The Rumpus has fostered writers, artists, and editors like Roxane Gay who served as Essays Editor and who credits the site for developing her audience, Isaac Fitzgerald who served as Managing Editor before moving to BuzzFeed to help create BuzzFeed Books, Rick Moody, Wendy MacNaughton, Paul Madonna, Peter Orner, Yumi Sakugawa, Steve Almond, and Cheryl Strayed, who began her "Dear Sugar" advice column on the site.In July 2016, the site launched the Rumpus Lo-Fi Film Festival in Los Angeles as response to the high cost of other festivals.In January 2017, The Rumpus was purchased by Marisa Siegel, previously the site's Managing Editor. Siegel is the current Editor-in-Chief and owner of The Rumpus. Lyz Lenz previously served as Managing Editor before stepping down from the role in fall 2018 and joining The Rumpus Advisory Board.

The Try Guys

The Try Guys is an American online comedy series currently available for streaming on YouTube. The series stars comedians and filmmakers Keith Habersberger, Ned Fulmer, Zach Kornfeld, and Eugene Lee Yang. The group created the Try Guys while working for BuzzFeed and subsequently separated themselves from the internet media company in 2018. The four of them write, produce, direct, shoot, and act in each episode.

The dress

The dress is a photograph that became a viral internet sensation on 26 February 2015, when viewers disagreed over whether the dress pictured was colored black and blue, or white and gold. The phenomenon revealed differences in human colour perception, which have been the subject of ongoing scientific investigations into neuroscience and vision science, with a number of papers published in peer-reviewed science journals.

The photo originated from a washed-out colour photograph of a dress posted on the social networking service Tumblr. Within the first week after the surfacing of the image, more than 10 million tweets mentioned the dress, using hashtags such as #thedress, #whiteandgold, and #blackandblue. Although the actual colour was eventually confirmed as black and blue the image prompted many discussions, with users debating their opinions on the colour and how they perceived the dress in the photograph as a certain colour. Members of the scientific community began to investigate the photo for fresh insights into human color vision.

The dress itself, which was identified as a product of the retailer Roman Originals, experienced a major surge in sales as a result of the incident. The retailer also produced a one-off version of the dress in white and gold as a charity campaign.

Trump–Russia dossier

The Trump–Russia dossier, also known as the Steele dossier, is a private intelligence report comprising memos written between June and December 2016 by Christopher Steele, a former head of the Russia Desk for British intelligence (MI6), for the private investigative firm Fusion GPS. The resulting dossier contains allegations of misconduct and conspiracy between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and the Government of Russia during the 2016 election, with campaign members and Russian operatives allegedly colluding to interfere in the election to benefit Trump. It also alleged that Russia sought to damage Hillary Clinton's candidacy, including sharing negative information about Clinton with the Trump campaign. The dossier was published in full by BuzzFeed on January 10, 2017. Several mainstream media outlets criticized BuzzFeed's decision to release it without verifying its allegations, while others defended it.In October 2015, Fusion GPS was contracted by conservative political website The Washington Free Beacon to provide political opposition research against Trump. In April 2016, attorney Marc Elias separately hired Fusion GPS to investigate Trump on behalf of Hillary Clinton's campaign and the DNC. The Free Beacon stopped its backing when Trump became the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee. In June 2016, Fusion GPS subcontracted Steele's firm to compile the dossier. His instructions were to seek answers to why Trump would "repeatedly seek to do deals in a notoriously corrupt police state". Clinton campaign officials were reportedly unaware that Fusion GPS had subcontracted Steele, and he was not told that the Clinton campaign was the recipient of his research. Following Trump's election as president, funding from Clinton and the DNC ceased, but Steele continued his research and was reportedly paid directly by Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn R. Simpson. The completed dossier was then handed to British and American intelligence services.The media, the intelligence community, and most experts have treated the dossier with caution due to its unverified assertions, while Trump has denounced it as fake news. Russian intelligence agencies have sought to create false doubt as to the veracity of the dossier. However, the U.S. intelligence community takes the allegations seriously and is investigating them. The Trump administration and congressional Republicans have falsely claimed that the launch of U.S. intelligence community probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election were based mostly on Steele's dossier.In May 2018, former career intelligence officer James Clapper stated that "more and more" of the dossier had been validated over time. Overall, some allegations of the dossier have been corroborated, others remain unverified and, according to a December 2018 Lawfare retrospective, "none of [the dossier], to our knowledge, has been disproven." Some parts of the dossier may require access to classified information for verification.

Worth It (TV series)

Worth It is an American entertainment television series by BuzzFeed that premiered in September 2016. Each episode sees presenters Steven Lim and Andrew Ilnyckyj, along with cameraman Adam Bianchi, visiting three different restaurants to try similar foods at three "drastically different price points"—affordable, mid, and luxury. The three are invariably positive about the food that they eat, a differentiating factor from BuzzFeed's other video content, and they attempt to approach the foods they eat from the perspective of everyday normal people. "When we watch the pair appraise a $1 coffee versus a $914 coffee in Tokyo," Candice Chung of Australia's Special Broadcasting Service writes, "we are watching the reaction of 'food civilians' who would marvel as we would at the heart-stopping price difference at a drink so humble and quotidian."The series is first aired on YouTube, and episodes have frequently been featured at the top of the site's "trending" videos—both factors that have allowed the series to garner a global audience.Worth It won a 2017 Streamy Award for best online food show. As of October 2017, the series had been viewed more than 300 million times for a total of over 2 billion minutes; in 2018 alone, viewers watched 1.5 billion minutes on the show. The show's popularity has led to it being described by BuzzFeed as a Zagat guide for millennials, and has created extreme upticks in patronage for some restaurants featured on the show.Worth It influenced Buzzfeed's decision to launch a new reviews section in 2018.A spin-off series, Worth It: Lifestyle, was first aired in January 2017 on BuzzFeedBlue, featuring Lim as host and a variety of BuzzFeed employees as co-hosts. The spin-off has the same premise as the original series, except that the hosts try three different experiences and items as opposed to only food.Two international spin-offs of Worth It have been produced: Worth It UK, hosted by Richard Alan Reid with various alternating hosts and Joseph Bor as the "sound guy" (Bor also co-hosted the fish and chips episode of the series); and a pilot episode for BuzzFeed India, hosted by Akash Iyer and Arshad Wahid with Aishwarya Katkade as the "sound guy." Andrew Ilnyckyj appears in two episodes of the UK spin-off.

Ze Frank

Ze Frank (; born Hosea Jan Frank on March 31, 1972) is an American online performance artist, composer, humorist and public speaker based in Los Angeles. He is currently the chief of research and development for BuzzFeed.

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