Instagram co-founders have unveiled the new app four years after their social media giant was acquired by Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Inc. Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have named their new app Artifact as “a personalized news feed using the latest ai tech.”
“It’s been a minute, but @mikeyk and I are back at it with Artifact – personalized news feed using the latest ai tech. Visit artifact.news to sign up and join the community,” twitted Systrom.
While leaving Instagram in September 2018, the entrepreneurs’ duo publicly said that they were excited to explore their “creativity and curiosity again.” Following their departure from Facebook-owned Instagram, rumours circulated about their disagreements with CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The duo even launched a website, RT.live, to track the spread of COVID-19 in 2020.
A Text-Based Version of TikTok
Artifact is a text-based platform similar to TikTok that uses machine learning to personalize the user experience. It will use algorithms to understand each user’s interests and present them with relevant news, similar to TikTok’s “For You” section.
New work: Artifact logo and brand identity
— adam ho (@omgadamho) January 31, 2023
“(The app is) a kind of TikTok for text, though you might also call it Google Reader reborn as a mobile app or maybe even a surprise attack on Twitter,” Casey Newton, who interviewed Systrom, said of Artifact.
On Tuesday, the application made its waiting list accessible to the general public and can be downloaded on both Android and iOS devices. When the account gets activated, user will see a feed of curated news stories from various publisher. When a user clicks on a news article, the app will show similar stories through algorithms as it learns more about the person’s reading choices.
“Throughout the years, what I saw was that every time we use machine learning to improve the consumer experience, things got really good really quickly,” said Systrom in a statement.
Systrom informed Newton that Artifact has additional features besides its news feed. One such feature is a section displaying articles posted by individuals you follow, accompanied by their comments. Additionally, Artifact enables users to engage in private conversations with their friends regarding current events.
Facebook and Twitter already use artificial intelligence to recommend content to users, and Artifact faces the challenge of going above and beyond by following in their footsteps.
Trying out Artifact (the news app from the Instagram founders) and I gotta say … there’s *nothing* TikTok-like about this. It’s def fast and seems reasonably polished for an early-stage thing but unless I’m missing something the UI is indistinguishable from any other news app
— Karissa Bell (@karissabe) February 2, 2023
TikTok changed the way content was presented by using algorithms instead of friend connections or followed accounts. As a result, it became widely used around the world.
Artifact carries same effort for text, unlike TikTok.
“I saw that shift, and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s the future of social.’ These unconnected graphs; these graphs that are learned rather than explicitly created. And what was funny to me is as I looked around, I was like, ‘Man, why isn’t this happening everywhere in social? Why is Twitter still primarily follow-based? Why is Facebook?’” said Systrom.
The unveiling of Artifact was the first tweet by Systrom in the last two years, and it got 649.1k views at the time of writing.
Most of the responses to his tweet are about people sharing their excitement about the new app.
“Plz plz let me in. I’m the former CEO of Zite and I’ve been waiting a decade for someone to build an app like this. Also would love to chat sometime,” Mark Johnson wrote in a response.
The majority of responses indicated that they are on the waitlist and are eager to try the Artifact.
“Congrats! Have loved the beta – closest to coming to Toutiao for any news app I’ve tried to date,” Jeremy Cai retweeted with a quote.