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Artifact, the AI news app created by Instagram’s founders, is shutting down

Artifact, the AI news app created by Instagram’s founders, is shutting down

Artifact, a personalized news app curated by AI, is shuttering its windows and shutting off comments just one year after it launched from the minds of Instagram’s former founders.

“We have built something that a core group of users love, but we have concluded that the market opportunity isn’t big enough to warrant continued investment in this way,” co-founder Kevin Systrom wrote in a Medium announcement. “It’s easy for startups to ignore this reality, but often making the tough call earlier is better for everyone involved… We live in an exciting time where artificial intelligence is changing just about everything we touch, and the opportunities for new ideas seem limitless.”

The app was created by Systrom and Mike Krieger, Instagram co-founders who left in 2018 to pursue new ventures, including addressing what Sytrom called the “existential crises” facing the news industry and the habits of overwhelmed users.


Artifact (Credits: The Verge)

“News and information remain critical areas for startup investment,” Systrom wrote. “We are at an existential moment where many publications are shutting down or struggling, local news has all but vanished, and larger publishers have fraught relationships with leading technology companies. My hope is that technology can find ways to preserve, support, and grow these institutions…”

Artifact launched in Jan. 2023 and was initially pegged as a purely consumable feed of “news, fact, and AI” intended to utilize machine learning to curate relevant news and posts from journalists, like a news-forward TikTok For Your Page.

By April, however, the app had expanded into content creation as well, allowing customizable profiles, comment threads, and a voting system that Mashable’s Christianna Silva noted was strikingly similar to the user experience of Reddit. “While this might make Artifact more interesting for users, it’s also opening a Pandora’s box of moderation issues,” Silva wrote of the newly unveiled Artifact “reputation scores” at the time. “It’s tough to imagine an app all about reading the news that beats the mind-numbing joy (and pain, and fear, and anger…) that we get from Instagram and TikTok.”

Despite early appreciation from news professionals and users alike, it appears Artifact couldn’t beat the quick churn of popular social media sites — and the increasingly inevitable trailing off of AI buzz.

Commenting and posting abilities have officially been turned off, but Artifact users can continue scrolling through news posts until the end of February.

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