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Culture

US news website Buzzfeed is to shut down French version

media Buzzfeed France's scoop oin the National Front Capture d'écran / Buzzfeed.com

US news website Buzzfeed is to shut down its French version after four years online.

Buzzfeed was launched in the United States in 2006 and has since become a major international media player.

Initially best known for its light-hearted viral content, it has gone on to hire experienced journalists around the world to develop its serious news coverage.

All 14 staff at Buzzfeed France are set to lose their jobs, two of them said.

The French site's chief editor Stephane Jourdain blasted the "sudden and completely unexpected" decision in a Twitter post, saying Buzzfeed France had just enjoyed "four great months in terms of news and traffic".

A spokeswoman at Buzzfeed's US headquarters declined to confirm the closure, saying: "We are taking steps to reconsider our operation in France given the uncertain path to growth in the French market."

Buzzfeed France launched in 2013 and "was right in the middle of a period of growth and investment", one staffer said.

"Traffic was going out and the site has published its biggest scoops in 2018," they added, notably allegations of systematic discrimination against Arab customers at a Paris restaurant favoured by celebrities like Kim Kardashian.

The site also recently ran scoops on the far-right National Front - now renamed the National Alliance - backing candidates that it knew had made extremist statements, and on sexual harassment allegations at television station TNT.

Buzzfeed had announced late last year that it was sacking around 100 people from its US and British operations, in an earlier sign that its advertising-dependent model was in trouble.

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