Instagram Co-founders Return to the Fold with Artifact, Offering AI-Curated News

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on February 2, 2023

Instagram is one of the largest social media platforms in the world, and its co-founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, are looking to repeat their success. The two left Instagram in 2018 because of tensions with Facebook, but now they are back with a next-gen social app idea called Artifact, which offers users personalized news feeds.

Artifact: Articles, Facts, and Artificial Intelligence

While Systrom and Krieger have expressed an interest in creating multiple apps, Artifact is the first step in that venture. Artifact, which represents a combination of articles, facts, and artificial intelligence, uses machine learning to get a feel for what people like and want to see. It then delivers that content in a personalized news feed where it can be discussed with friends – the social aspect.

The articles shown on the app will come from a further curated list of publishers, from top news organizations to niche authority blogs. When users see something they like, they can hit like, and the algorithm will remember it and serve up similar content in the future, a feature seen in various apps, including TikTok.

The app, which opened the waiting list for its public beta this week, will be available on Android and iOS devices. Although it is still in the early stages, there are some features already being tested by beta users, which are:

  • A feed showing articles by users you are following.
  • A direct message inbox to privately discuss things with friends.

The primary difference between Artifact and new-age social apps and features is a focus on text. While video has become the focus, thanks to how well it captures audience attention and how much ad revenue it produces, Artifact wants to go in another direction. Moreover, it hopes the use of AI will help it reach a wide audience.

The Tech Made ChatGPT Possible Did the Same for Artifact

The ability of machine learning to provide truly relevant and wanted recommendations is the cornerstone of Artifact. Mainly, it is the ability for a system to understand language using fewer inputs, which has allowed things to progress rapidly.

Because of the advances, ChatGPT and other AI technology boomed, and it has had a great impact on social media. In a big way, it has impacted how social platforms deliver content to users.

  • Early on, social platforms showed what your friends liked – think Facebook.
  • The focus shifted to what you see on Twitter, which is showing content based on who you choose to follow.
  • Then TikTok changed things further, using algorithmic predictions to serve content.

Systrom saw the changes happening, how algorithmic prediction played its role in TikTok, and thought, “Oh, that’s the future of social.” The goal is to do the same thing with text.

Hopeful Future

There are still some big questions that need to be answered, such as whether Artifact can achieve the same viral success. Can curated article recommendations match or even come close to matching what video can do? It is hard to imagine it can reach that point, even if it does provide accurate recommendations.

Moreover, the company lacks a solid business model. Systrom mentioned a few ideas, including advertising and sharing revenue with publishers, but there is no solid direction for monetizing the platform.

But there is plenty to give Artifact hope, including the goal of providing high-quality news that is not afraid to call out fake news and reject less-reputable publishers. Plus, considering it is in the hands of founders who appreciate technology and want to build something unique, there is potential for the platform to become something special down the line, even if everything is not worked out in the present.

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Spencer Hulse is the Editorial Director at Grit Daily. He is responsible for overseeing other editors and writers, day-to-day operations, and covering breaking news.

Read more

More GD News