U.S. digital-media company Mashable has folded its French operations and French-language version following the end of its partnership with France24, the French news channel.
Mashable and France 24 had launched a local version of the social media site in March 2016 with the support of Google’s innovation fund, as part of its Digital News Initiative. But in a joint statement, the two companies announced that they had agreed to end their partnership, owing to changes in Mashable’s leadership and strategy, and to shut down Mashable’s French version last Wednesday.
The arrival of publisher Ziff Davis at the helm of Mashable at the end of 2017 “has led the American company to pursue a new strategy which no longer fits the initial agreement and the editorial mandate of a public broadcaster such as France 24,” the statement said. Mashable cut 30% of its workforce after being sold to Davis in December.
Earlier this year, another New York-based digital media company, BuzzFeed, also folded its French operation after four years. The company laid off its 14 employees in France, according to Le Monde. Back in June, a spokesperson for BuzzFeed had told Le Monde that the company was considering halting its activity in France due to the “uncertainty of possible growth within the French market.”
Last November, BuzzFeed in the U.S. pink-slipped 100 staffers across ad sales and business operations. Three months ago, it revamped its advertising team, laying off about 20 employees and hiring 45 people in new positions.
The folding of BuzzFeed’s French operation sparked protests from its co-editors-in-chief, Stephane Jourdain and Cecile Dehesdin. Jourdain called the decision “extremely violent” and “completely unexpected” in interviews with French journalists.
Over the course of four years, BuzzFeed France showcased politically and socially engaged content, with items promoting diversity, women’s rights, LGBT issues, police violence and Islamophobia.
The difficulties faced by BuzzFeed France have been blamed by local journalists on the change of Facebook’s algorithm.