The Artifact App Isn’t as Archaic as It Sounds — In Fact, It’s Quite Cutting-Edge

Artifact app

Soon, the news you’re shown could be exactly the kind you’re interested in, thanks to a new app called Artifact. Created by Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, it was formally launched in January this year but has only recently become available to all Android and iOS users.

“A personalised news feed powered by artificial intelligence,” is how the app is described on its official download page. The latest version of the app includes new features like a tool to let users provide feedback on articles by using thumbs up and down icons, as well as the ability to connect with contacts and view articles that are popular within their network.

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“It doesn’t tell you who read it,” Systrom told Tech Crunch. “It doesn’t tell you how many of them read it, so it keeps privacy — and we clearly don’t do it with just one read. So you can’t have one contact and figure out what that one contact is reading… it has to meet a certain minimum threshold”.

This way, he added, the app isn’t driven by what your friends are reading — it’s about highlighting items everyone’s reading. The broader goal is to expand the social experience to also include a way to discuss the news articles within Artifact itself, reports Tech Crunch.

“The simplest way to understand Artifact is as a kind of TikTok for text, though you might also call it Google Reader reborn as a mobile app or maybe even a surprise attack on Twitter,” wrote The Verge back in January when the app was first unveiled and open to users through a waiting list.

“The app opens to a feed of popular articles chosen from a curated list of publishers ranging from leading news organisations like The New York Times to small-scale blogs about niche topics.”

The publication reports that you can tap on articles that interest you and Artifact will serve you similar posts and stories in the future — exactly how TikTok’s For You page tunes its algorithm to show you the content you resonate with.

The Artifact app’s interface is divided into three tabs: Home, Headlines, and Profile, reports online publication Mezha. The first pulls up a selection of news and lets you switch between specific topics, as well as edit them. In the second tab, you can familiarise yourself with international news. And, in the third tab, you can see your profile statistics and materials set aside for later reading.

“When we built Instagram, the iPhone 4 had just launched and we were so excited about the processing speed and also about the camera being just good enough. There was this breaking point… We happened to stand out from the crowd because we had a couple of differentiating features and we timed it correctly,” Systrom told Tech Crunch.

“We are certainly betting on that thesis [with Artifact] — which is that the technology is different.”

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