The Future of BuzzFeed: Win or LOL?
On June 17, five months after BuzzFeed’s newsroom was devastated by layoffs, a large inflatable rat appeared on the doorstep of the company’s Manhattan headquarters.
Scores of staff members, including those at its offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, staged a walkout that day as part of an effort to force Jonah Peretti, the site’s founder and chief executive, to recognize a newly formed union. His position was well known at the time: Collective bargaining was not a good idea for BuzzFeed.
His employees, known for generating infinitely shareable bits of digital culture (what color is this dress?), feared for the site’s future. The layoffs had claimed 15 percent of the staff, and an internal survey revealed that only 56 percent of those still standing expected to be working at BuzzFeed in a year’s time.