BuzzFeed is reportedly poised to shed a third of its UK employees as part of an ongoing global redundancy drive, with the news coming amid a failure to meet revenue targets.
In the UK BuzzFeed slumped to a £3.3m loss despite efforts to shore up its flagging fortunes, and according to a report in the Telegraph the firm told employees earlier this week that it was proposing to cut 45 roles across its commercial and editorial operations.
Of the 76 journalists at the young company, 23 are believed to be facing redundancy. BuzzFeed employs 140 people in London.
Laura Davison, NUJ national organiser, said: "The whole union will have been shocked by the scale of what is being put forward and will be rallying behind our members at risk of redundancy. At a time when other organisations are investing in digital for the long term, cutting back staff with these skills seems perverse. The staff are BuzzFeed's greatest asset and I'm sure they will have strong alternative proposals to put forward during the consultation period.
"The situation demonstrates again the importance of a strong collective voice in the workplace. As the union is currently battling with redundancies across local newspaper groups such as Newsquest, it is deeply worrying to see such a trail-blazing digital enterprise to be in such trouble. It has sent a chill throughout the whole industry. That is why the union has called for an independent inquiry in the media in the UK. With Google and Facebook hoovering up virtually all digital advertising, there are huge questions to be answered for the future of journalism."
The comes in the midst of ongoing efforts from the media firm to diversify its revenue streams outside of native advertising. In August, it dropped its longstanding opposition to conventional digital banner ads in a bid to make it less reliant on driving traffic to promoted posts.
Rival platform Mashable is pursuing its own round of cuts with new owner Ziff Davis keen to minimise outgoings despite picking up the digital news platform at a rock bottom price of just $50m.