BuzzFeed launches 'public chat' on Viber

Online news site BuzzFeed has launched its own 'public chat' on messaging service Viber, allowing editors and reporters to discuss news with fans of the website and avid news readers.

Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon and other social networks have allowed BuzzFeed to grow its brand into an 80 million strong monthly viewership, and Viber looks to be the next step in this social journey.

BuzzFeed’s product lead for growth and data, Ben Ronne said “We’re always looking for new channels to expand our reach and public chats is a great opportunity to give Viber’s worldwide audience a way to discover and engage with BuzzFeed’s latest news, lifestyle, and entertainment content."

Viber launched 'public chat' with celebrities and organisations on Nov. 2014, signing up people like Perez Hilton, Pixie Lott and Paul Van Dyk to chat with fans on an open chat-room. Brands like Next Models also signed up for the service, to find more brand identity amongst young mobile users.

Acquired by Rakuten in 2013, Viber has been growing at a significant rate in various countries, as it attempts to compete with LINE, WeChat and WhatsApp. It currently has 209 million active users, putting it at the low-end of the messaging userbase market.

It is not the first time BuzzFeed has signed a deal with a messaging company, in October 2014 the news org signed a deal with Tencent Holdings, allowing BuzzFeed to send one to two "viral things on the web" per day to 400 million users.

BuzzFeed was also in talks with Snapchat over the photo and video advertising service, before Universal Pictures stepped in with the first video ad for Ouija. The Snapchat audience is potentially one of the most lucrative in the social world, but the company is slowly rolling out advertising, to not scare off the young userbase.