Social news app Artifact is now available to the public

23 Feb 2023

Image: Artifact

Founded by the makers of Instagram, Artifact uses AI and machine learning to personalise news reading.

Artifact, the news-based social app created by Instagram’s founders, is now available to everyone.

First announced last month by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, the co-founders who sold Instagram to Facebook (now known as Meta) in 2012 for $1bn, Artifact offers a personalised news feed to its users by incorporating AI and machine learning.

The first public venture Systrom and Krieger have announced since they left Facebook in 2018 after disagreements with management, Artifact was in beta mode for a few weeks before being made public yesterday (22 February).

“With the new version of our app, we’re also introducing new tools to help you personalise your experience, visualise your reading history and see what’s popular in your network,” the Artifact team wrote in a blogpost announcement on Medium.

“Our hope is to provide control over what you see in Feed and a new lens into what you and your network are finding most interesting.”

Users who download the app, available on both iOS and Android, will be able to connect to their contacts and see articles that are popular in their network, see stats on their reading history and patterns, as well as give Artifact feedback on articles they do not like for better personalisation.

“You can get started immediately using Artifact just by selecting your favourite interests. But if you’d like, you can now add a phone number from Profile which will save your preferences and history,” the company added.

It said that adding a phone number allows users to log in across devices or regain access if they get a new phone.

In many ways, Artifact is reminiscent of Google Reader, an RSS-newsreader app that Google sunset in 2013. The major difference between the two is that Artifact is powered by advancements in AI and machine learning to improve the user experience.

“Throughout the years, what I saw was that every time we used machine learning to improve the consumer experience, things got really good really quickly,” Systrom told The Verge last month, based on his experiences at Instagram.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic