Artifact, the ambitious AI-driven news app conceived by Instagram’s former founders, is closing its doors just a year after its highly anticipated launch. Co-founder Kevin Systrom acknowledged the closure in a Medium announcement, expressing the team’s belief that the market opportunity for the platform wasn’t substantial enough to warrant continued investment.
Shuttering the Vision of Artifact
Despite initially being hailed as a groundbreaking platform for personalized news consumption, Artifact faced challenges in a landscape dominated by popular social media sites. The founders, Systrom and Mike Krieger, who departed Instagram in 2018, sought to address what they termed as the “existential crises” facing the news industry. The app, which started as a curated feed of “news, fact, and AI,” eventually expanded into content creation, introducing customizable profiles and a voting system reminiscent of Reddit.
By April of its launch year, Artifact encountered hurdles with moderation issues tied to its new features. The introduction of “reputation scores” sparked concerns, leading to questions about the app’s ability to navigate the nuanced landscape of news consumption. Despite early praise from professionals and users, Artifact found itself unable to contend with the rapid pace and addictive allure of established social media giants.
Challenges Faced by the Industry
In a reflection on the current state of news and information, Systrom highlighted the challenges faced by the industry, expressing hope that technology could contribute to preserving and supporting news institutions. As commenting and posting functionalities are officially disabled, Artifact users have a brief window until the end of February to continue scrolling through the curated news posts, marking the conclusion of a venture that sought to redefine AI-driven news consumption.