These media sources have a slight to moderate liberal bias. They often publish factual information that utilizes loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes) to favor liberal causes. These sources are generally trustworthy for information but may require further investigation. See all Left-Center sources.
- Overall, we rate Buzzfeed strongly Left-Center Biased due to story selection that tends to favor the left and Mixed for factual reporting based on poor sourcing and a few failed fact checks.
Bias Rating: LEFT-CENTER
Factual Reporting: MIXED
Country: USA (45/180 Press Freedom)
Media Type: Website
Traffic/Popularity: High Traffic
MBFC Credibility Rating: MEDIUM CREDIBILITY
Founded in 2006 and headquartered in New York, Buzzfeed is a media news company delivering social news and entertainment. They provide a mix of breaking news, entertainment, and shareable content. Jonah Peretti and John Johnson are the founders of Buzzfeed, and the editor-in-chief is Ben Smith. In 2016, BuzzFeed split the News operation off from the BuzzFeed Entertainment Group, focusing more on BuzzFeed’s video unit. The Buzzfeed brands are Tasty, Nifty, Goodful, and more.
In 2018, BuzzfeedNews.com became a separate website.
Funded by / Ownership
Numerous investors funded BuzzFeed. NEA (New Enterprise Associates), New York-based venture capital firm RRE and Hearst Ventures were the early investors of Buzzfeed. In 2015, NBC (Comcast) invested $200 million in BuzzFeed, and in 2016 they invested another $200 million. BuzzFeed also raised 50 million dollars from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. BuzzFeed is privately owned and does not disclose financial results to the public. However, BuzzFeed missed its revenue target in 2017 by 15%-20%. According to a New York Times article by Edmund Lee, founder Jonah Peretti says his company could eventually merge with rival online publishers to negotiate better terms with Facebook.
The BuzzFeed business model relies primarily on native advertising in the form of quizzes and videos sponsored by companies, which also goes by the name sponsored content or advertorial, which is advertising content that looks like an editorial.
They are currently owned by Verizon Media who recently acquired HuffPost.
Analysis / Bias
BuzzFeed often publishes “Listicles” with images or GIFs and short content with links such as “100 Pictures That’ll Make You Pee Yourself Laughing” or “42 Cat GIFs Guaranteed To Make You Laugh Every Time”. They also publish viral videos, as well as political news on their news website.
In a review of their reporting of news stories, Buzzfeed utilizes emotionally loaded language in their headlines “Trump Excluded Democrats From A Lunch Meeting On The Shutdown” and “The US Envoy On ISIS, Brett McGurk, Quit In Protest Over Trump’s Withdrawal From Syria.” When it comes to sourcing, they typically source to themselves; however, they also utilize credible sources such as the Des Moines Register and Associated Press. Further, they do not clearly label opinion pieces, making it difficult to tell the difference between straight news content and editorials. In general, most Buzzfeed stories favor the left.
In January 2017, Buzzfeed published the Steele Dossier about alleged Russia collusion, which caused President Donald Trump to criticize them by saying Buzzfeed is a ‘failing pile of garbage. In December 2018, according to Politico, “The libel case over the dossier it published before Trump took office gets tossed.”
A 2014 Pew Research Survey found that 59% of Buzzfeed’s audience is consistently or mostly liberal, 27% Mixed, and 14% consistently or mostly conservative. This indicates that a more liberal audience prefers Buzzfeed.
Failed Fact Checks
- Tax evasion and tax avoidance costs the government £34 billion a year – False
- Women make only 78 percent of what men make for the same job. – Mostly False
Overall, we rate Buzzfeed strongly Left-Center Biased due to story selection that tends to favor the left and Mixed for factual reporting based on poor sourcing and a few failed fact checks. (6/30/2016) Updated (M. Huitsing 03/21/2021)