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Instagram Co-Founders’ Artifact News App Shows Signs of Survival

ByHuey Yee Ong

Mar 29, 2024
Instagram Co-Founders' Artifact News App Shows Signs of Survival

Instagram Co-Founders’ Artifact News App Shows Signs of Survival

Artifact, the AI-powered news app created by Instagram’s co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, which was celebrated for its innovative approach to news discovery, may not be on the brink of shutdown as previously thought.

In January, the duo announced the app’s impending closure, citing a market opportunity not substantial enough to justify further investment. This announcement set the stage for the app’s discontinuation in February 2024. However, weeks have passed since the anticipated shutdown date, and Artifact continues to be operational, signaling a change in the app’s fate.

A Glimmer of Hope for Artifact

This continuation isn’t accidental. Systrom has shared that both he and Krieger are still actively involved in Artifact’s operation and are considering options for its future. This news is likely to uplift the spirits of Artifact’s user base, given the app’s popular reception upon its debut. Systrom has noted that maintaining the app is less resource-intensive than initially estimated, with just the two co-founders managing its operations. While there’s still a possibility that Artifact may ultimately cease to exist, the founders are exploring all potential avenues for its continuity, including the possibility of an exit strategy.

Artifact’s Unique AI Features

Artifact stood out at its launch not just because it was a new venture by the high-profile Instagram co-founders but also due to its sophisticated use of artificial intelligence. The app was designed to curate personalized news feeds from a selection of reputable sources, using AI to tailor content to the individual interests of its users. It offered unique features like summarizing news in various styles—catering to preferences such as “Gen Z” lingo or the simplicity of “Explain Like I’m Five”—and rephrasing clickbait titles for clearer understanding.

The announcement of Artifact’s potential shutdown sparked a broader interest in AI’s role in news summarization. Other tech startups have since introduced similar AI-driven features, with browser startup Arc launching a “pinch to summarize” function ahead of a significant fundraising effort, and ventures like Feeeed, Bulletin, and Particle—founded by former engineers from Twitter and Tesla—utilizing AI to enhance the news reading experience. The investment in Particle, in particular, which was co-founded by Twitter’s former Senior Director of Product Management Sara Beykpour and ex-Twitter and Tesla senior engineer Marcel Molina, emphasizes the growing investor interest in AI-powered news solutions.

Despite its uncertain future, Artifact continues to function without its original social features, such as commenting and posting, focusing instead on providing news reading and AI summarization capabilities. This pared-down version of the app is a result of the founders’ self-funding efforts, which amounted to “single-digit millions,” indicating they have the means to support Artifact for the time being.

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Featured Image courtesy of Artifact

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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