Instagram Co-Founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have launched Artifact, an app they describe as “A personalized news feed driven by artificial intelligence“.
Artifact presents articles to users and monitors their interest in it, using that information to serve up other articles that the user may be interested in. Similar to YouTube’s metric of ‘watch time’ to determine a user’s interest, Artifact will measure ‘read time’.
The concept may not appear too novel, especially with news discovery tools such as Google Discover and Upday already on the market. However the difference with Artifact is that it’ll be social, drawing on the experience Sytrom and Krieger have from their years at Instagram. Along with an algorithmically-chosen selection of articles, you’ll also be able to read articles shared by users you follow.
When Systrom and Krieger left Instagram in September 2018, they mentioned in a blog post that they were planning to explore their “curiosity and creativity again.” Artifact is likely to build on some residual concerns and resistance the Co-Founders faced at Facebook (now Meta) such as the desire to stamp out fake news and to take manual action on issues such as deciding upon advertising partners and which users to promote.
According to an article on The Verge, a priority of Artifact will be to serve up high-quality news and information, similar to how Instagram was about high-quality images and curation. Given the overwhelming interest in AI and machine-learning (ChatGPT anyone?), a personalized news feed driven by AI is likely to garner considerable attention, if not for the fact that it has been developed by the creators of one of the most successful apps ever.
A news feed might not sound to exciting to everyone, but again, the difference is that it’ll be social. And as an investor once told Sytrom and Krieger in the early days of IG, “Anyone can build Instagram the app. But not everyone can build Instagram the community.“