The History of BuzzFeed: Comprehensive Exploration and Insights

BuzzFeed, a digital media powerhouse, has an interesting history that spans from its inception to its current global influence.

BuzzFeed, a popular digital media outlet, has a fascinating history that starts in 2006.

Founded by Jonah Peretti, the platform initially gained traction for its unique mix of serious and light-hearted content, including news, quizzes, and listicles.

The company’s innovative use of data-driven content and social media sharing propelled its rapid growth, making it a significant player in the digital media landscape.

This article delves into the complete history of BuzzFeed, offering a comprehensive look at its origins, growth, challenges, and successes.

Key takeaways:

  • BuzzFeed was founded in 2006 and quickly gained popularity for its mix of trending internet content.
  • The company expanded into serious journalism in 2012, accelerating its growth.
  • BuzzFeed played a significant role in shaping meme culture during the 2010s.
  • BuzzFeed’s influence on internet culture extends beyond viral lists and quizzes, pioneering new approaches to content consumption and advertising.
  • The company achieved significant milestones, including Pulitzer Prize nominations and billions of monthly views on its video content.

BuzzFeed Company History Timeline

The timeline of the company can be traced back to its inception in 2006, when it started as a viral lab focusing on tracking viral content. Its early years were marked by the introduction of its tech-focused division, BuzzFeed Tech, in 2011. This was followed by the launch of a politics-oriented section during the presidential election year in 2012.

The year 2013 saw its expansion in terms of content and geography, with the introduction of Spanish, French, and Brazilian Portuguese versions. An investigative journalism unit was also added in the same year. In 2014, BuzzFeed Video was launched on YouTube followed by a standalone app in 2015.

Further, BuzzFeed News was established in 2016, becoming a recognized independent entity. To this date, BuzzFeed continues to evolve adapting to changing trends and users’ content consumption habits.

Founder of BuzzFeed

Jonah Peretti, the man behind the establishment of BuzzFeed, has an interesting backstory.

Originally from California, Peretti’s initial career path led him to teaching computer science at a New Orleans-based art institute.

His journey in the digital world began in 2001 when he co-founded The Huffington Post.

However, it was in 2006 when he created BuzzFeed as an experimental project at his new firm, Contagious Media – the idea was to track viral content.

Little did he think that this ‘side project’ would eventually revolutionize digital media and content sharing over the internet.

From viral quizzes to breaking news – it all unfolded under Peretti’s leadership.

Year BuzzFeed Was Founded

In 2006, BuzzFeed saw its inception, marking the birth of a platform that would soon revolutionize digital content and its consumption.

Established by Jonah Peretti, the site initially focused on tracking viral content, diversifying over the years to include news, entertainment, and more, ultimately cementing its place as a staple in the internet world.

BuzzFeed Growth and Age

Upon its launch in 2006, BuzzFeed was primarily recognized for its mix of trending internet content, quizzes, and pop culture articles. However, it wasn’t until 2012 that they expanded into serious journalism and news reporting which greatly accelerated their growth. The company gained substantial credibility in 2013 following their exclusive report on former Senator John McCain’s endorsement of same-sex marriage. The platform evolved to include a reputable news department alongside its entertainment content, fueling further expansion.

By 2016, BuzzFeed split into two departments: news and entertainment, each developing a distinct global audience. The addition of video content, specifically through BuzzFeed’s ‘Tasty’ platform, marked another pivotal growth point, helping draw in 9 billion monthly views by 2017. Their strategic focus on sharing content on social media platforms played a pivotal role in their growth and remaining relevant in the ever-changing digital landscape.

Nevertheless, BuzzFeed faced a downturn in the late 2010s, resulting in layoffs, however it bounced back, expanding to new content areas like e-commerce and cooking. As of 2021, BuzzFeed continues to evolve and adapt, proving its resilience as a digital media company.

BuzzFeed’s Contribution to Meme Culture in the 2010s

During the 2010s, BuzzFeed emerged as a significant contributor to the evolution of meme culture. The platform’s user-friendly interface and tools allowed contributors to create, share, and spread internet memes, effectively shaping global meme trends. One of these trends was the personality quiz, a format that invited users to answer a series of fun questions to uncover their ‘type’, ‘character’, or ‘kinship’ with popular cultural phenomena.

The company’s unique approach of combining memetic humor with share-worthiness allowed them to tap into the viral potential of memes. BuzzFeed News also extensively covered the memetic discourse, tracking the rise and fall of viral memes and providing context to their applications in popular culture.

Furthermore, the website’s robust community section encouraged users to create and distribute their content, becoming a breeding ground for new memes. This interactivity played a crucial role in popularizing several meme formats, like “21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity” and “What Type of Dog Matches Your Personality?” Scrolling through BuzzFeed became synonymous with keeping abreast of the latest meme culture developments.

In sum, BuzzFeed’s contribution was not just limited to producing and proliferating memes. It extended to shaping the discourse around them, establishing itself as both a creator and curator in the world of meme culture.

BuzzFeed’s Influence On Internet Culture

Unarguably, BuzzFeed’s impact on digital space goes beyond the viral lists and quizzes it is often renowned for. Diving deep into the social fabric of internet users worldwide, it has shaped online behavior to a significant extent.

Firstly, it has played a crucial role in transforming how content is consumed. With its visually appealing infographics and easily digestible articles, it promoted the trend of ‘snackable content’.

Secondly, its bold move to adopt native advertising early on demonstrated the potential of this format, impacting online advertising norms.

Thirdly, BuzzFeed leveraged social media platforms for distribution tremendously, capitalising on user behaviour to make content viral – an approach many outlets now emulate.

Lastly, it redefined journalism by integrating it with entertainment, pioneering a blend of serious and lighthearted content that strikes a chord with the diverse internet population.

BuzzFeed’s Significant Milestones and Achievements

In 2006, amidst a media landscape largely dominated by traditional news outlets, BuzzFeed came to life. With its focus on digital content and a unique strategy of mixing journalism with viral content, it pioneered a new approach to news and entertainment.

BuzzFeed’s experimentation with listicles – articles in the form of lists – revolutionized content consumption on the internet. In the subsequent years, it quickly rose to prominence, becoming a major player in the arena of online media.

In 2012, the site made a pivotal decision to split its content into two separate sections: BuzzFeed News and BuzzFeed Entertainment, catering to different target audiences. In the following year, BuzzFeed Video was launched, which has since grown exponentially, drawing billions of views across various platforms.

In 2016, the company received a Pulitzer Prize nomination for an investigative piece on the impact of the for-profit detention industry on immigrants, demonstrating the strength of their journalistic prowess.

All in all, BuzzFeed’s progress mirrors the evolution of digital media, embodying a shift from traditional print and broadcast news towards more interactive, engaging, and diverse content, representing readers’ changing preferences and habits. These distinct achievements have made BuzzFeed one of the most influential online media outlets of the 21st century.


Why is BuzzFeed shutting down?

BuzzFeed News is shutting down due to the unsustainable business model of news tailored for social media, with the company choosing to concentrate on profitable aspects.

Why was BuzzFeed created?

BuzzFeed was created in 2006 with the aim to provide quality, brand-safe news and entertainment to a wide audience and to foster inclusivity, empathy, creativity, and life improvement inspiration via internet content.

What is BuzzFeed famous for?

BuzzFeed, an American media company, is chiefly renowned for its engaging online quizzes, compelling listicles, and informative pop-culture articles.

When did BuzzFeed become popular?

BuzzFeed ascended to popularity in 2011 when it became the 13th most popular blog globally and signaled a shift towards serious longform and investigative journalism with the hiring of Ben Smith from Politico as editor-in-chief.

Who were the primary founders of BuzzFeed?

The primary founders of BuzzFeed are Jonah Peretti and John S. Johnson III.

How has BuzzFeed's content strategy evolved over the years?

BuzzFeed's content strategy has evolved over the years from listicles and viral content to more serious journalism, diversifying into different verticals like politics, tech, and culture, while utilising multiple platforms for distribution.

Can you discuss some significant milestones in BuzzFeed's growth trajectory?

BuzzFeed, founded in 2006, experienced substantial growth with notable milestones including the launch of its news division in 2011, international expansion starting with the U.K. in 2013, and hitting 200 million monthly unique visitors in 2014.