Buzzfeed’s share price has jumped following news that it will use technology from ChatGPT creator OpenAI to write content.
The publisher is currently trading on the US Nasdaq index at just over 2 cents a share giving it a market cap of $290m, up from around 1 cents per share over the last two months. Buzzfeed stock remains around 75% down from its value when the company went public in late 2021.
CEO Jonah Peretti told staff in a memo reported by the Wall Street Journal that it would use AI to create articles individually tailored for readers.
He said readers would be invited to “pick a trope for your rom-com” or “tell us an endearing flaw you have” and then an article would be created based on the reader’s response.
Buzzfeed, which acquired Huffpost in late 2020, announced it was cutting 12% of its workforce last month. It is the latest in a succession of cutbacks that have included axing its UK news division in 2019 with the loss of 17 jobs.
Buzzfeed is yet to turn a profit as a public company.
While newsroom automation has become common, for example in the use of templates and datasets to create stories, the use of AI to research and write stories from scratch is new territory.
One of the major questions around AI-generated content is whether it will be penalised in search by Google.
Google’s search liaison Danny Sullivan said that using 100 journalists to write copy aimed at boosting Google rankings would have the same effect as using something like ChatGPT for the same purpose. Google has been prioritising “original, helpful content written by people, for people” since August when it introduced its helpful content update.
SEO expert Luke Budka told Press Gazette: “The question is not ‘Will ChatGPT/AI content be penalised?’ but ‘Can ChatGPT/AI produce quality original, accurate content?’ The answer is no. It’s been trained on a huge dataset of existing sources (ChatGPT was trained on a dataset of text called the ‘WebText’ dataset which includes a lot of unverified information like forum posts, personal blogs and Wikipedia so its accuracy is extremely questionable and by its very nature it has no ‘experience’.”
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