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Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger are launching a new social app, though its initial focus will be more on content specifically, as opposed to social elements. At least in its early stages.

Artifact app

Called ‘Artifact’ (which is a combination of ‘articles, facts, and artificial intelligence’), the new app is designed to provide you with a curated news experience, based on your engagement and interests.

As explained by Platformer:

“The app opens to a feed of popular articles chosen from a curated list of publishers ranging from leading news organizations like the New York Times to small-scale blogs about niche topics. Tap on articles that interest you and Artifact will serve you similar posts and stories in the future, just as watching videos on TikTok’s For You page tunes its algorithm over time.

Indeed, the app aims to use the same type of machine learning fueled approached that has propelled TikTok to soaring heights, by using your in-app actions as indicators to then better curate your personal experience – as opposed to relying on your social graph to define what you see.

Though they are also working on social elements. Artifact is also developing a following feed, as well as messaging, but the main impetus is to use advanced machine learning to keep users engaged.

Will that work?

Some have suggested that the arrival of this new app could be timed to catch cast-offs from Twitter, who have become disillusioned – or just disengaged – by Elon Musk’s changes at the app, and it could be that this more advanced model of highlighting relevant news content becomes a valuable alternative in keeping up to date.

But there will also be curation concerns.

Artifact will be selective about the publishers and content that it allows into the app, and will remove posts that promote falsehoods. That could be viewed as a form of censorship – a key impetus for Musk’s ‘Twitter 2.0’ reformation project – and could cause problems for the app, at a certain scale.

There will also be questions around filter bubbles and facilitating echo chambers by only showing users the content that they want to see – though it is worth noting that Artifact’s systems will be primarily optimized for content read time, as opposed to what generates the most clicks and comments.

That could lead be a better approach, but how workable that will be, if the app takes off, is another question.

It’s an interesting experiment either way, and it’s interesting to see Krieger and Systrom return to social to apply what they learned from Instagram in a new arena.

It could be worth a look – you can sign up to the Artifact waitlist here.