Techspace - Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, the co-founders of Instagram who left Facebook in 2018 due to tensions with their parent company, have set up a new company to look into concepts for new social apps.
Artifact is their product, a personalized news feed that uses machine learning to learn about your interests and will soon allow you to discuss articles with friends.
The waiting list for Artifact, whose name represents the amalgamation of articles, facts, and artificial intelligence, is now open to the public. According to Systrom, the company intends to grant users access quickly.
It sounds like a modern take on Google Reader, an RSS newsreader application that Google discontinued in 2013. The app opens to a feed of famous articles selected from a carefully curated list of publishers, including major news outlets like The New York Times and niche-focused blogs.
Artifact will serve you similar posts and stories in the future when you tap on articles that interest you, just like watching videos on TikTok's For You page tweaks its algorithm over time.
Today, only that centrally ranked feed will be displayed to users who arrive from the waitlist. However, Artifact beta users are evaluating two additional features Systrom anticipates will become the app's foundational elements.
One is a feed that shows you articles and comments on those posts from users you have chosen to follow (for the time being, you won't be able to post raw text without a link). The second is an inbox for direct messages, which lets you talk to friends privately about the posts you've read.
Artifact can be a throwback. Big social platforms have spent the past few years chasing short-form video products and the ad revenue that comes with them, inspired by TikTok's success.
In the meantime, Artifact is focused on a text like a social network from the late 2000s. However, the creators are optimistic that their app will succeed in reaching a wider audience thanks to recent advancements in artificial intelligence and lessons learned over the past decade.
He informed The Verge that Systrom and Krieger first discussed the concept for Artifact a few years ago. Systrom stated that before working at Instagram, he was skeptical of the capability of machine-learning systems to enhance recommendations. However, since then, he has become a firm believer.
He stated, "I saw over the years that every time we use machine learning to improve the customer experience, things get perfect quickly."
Why then return now? Technically, this is not the first project the duo has worked on since Instagram. According to Techcrunch, they created the website Rt.live together in 2020 to monitor the spread of covid.
However, Systrom stated that they didn't want to start a new business until three things took place: One possibility is a significant new trend in consumer technology that he and Krieger might try to catch. Two, connecting that wave to social technology, in which he and Krieger remain emotionally invested.
Thirdly, an idea of how their product might solve a problem. Systrom has always thought about technology design from the point of view of what jobs it can do for customers.
Artifact Will Serve High-Quality News and Information For Readers
Artifact, like most startups at this stage, hasn't decided on a business model yet. Systrom stated that advertising would be an obvious fit. Additionally, he is interested in considering revenue-sharing agreements with publishers.
If Artifact becomes widespread, it may assist readers in discovering new publications and encourage them to subscribe; Artifact might be suitable to try to take a cut.
Additionally, Systrom stated that Artifact would take responsibility for seriously providing readers with high-quality news and information. He explained to me that this means making an effort to include only publishers who uphold editorial quality standards.
The company won't reveal every publisher on its platform, but you can search for specific outlets within the app.
There were publishers of both the left and the right included; For instance, Fox News can be found there. However, Systrom is open about the fact that the business will make its own decisions regarding who belongs and who does not.
According to him, "One of the technology issues recently has been a lot of these companies' unwillingness to make subjective judgments in the name of quality and progress for humanity," then he continued, "Right? Just make the hard decision."
He claims that Artifact will also remove individual posts that spread lies. In addition, to reward more engaging content, its machine-learning systems will be primarily optimized to measure the length of time spent reading about various subjects rather than, for example, what attracts the most clicks and comments.
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