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23 Feb, 2023
1 min time to read

The news reader, Artifact, which was created by the co-founders of Instagram to provide personalized news, is now accessible to the general public without the need for registration.

Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launched their news app Artifact last month as an invite-only experience, promising to later add social elements like being able to discuss the news with friends. Today, the app drops its waitlist and phone number requirements, adds a social feature and feedback controls to better personalise the news reading experience, among other changes.

Artifact now gives users more visibility into their reading habits with a stats feature that shows the categories and publishers users read the most. The app's goal is to provide tools that allow readers to control, personalise and diversify their feed. A new feature allows users to upload contacts in order to see if a particular article is popular in their network, but this feature does not reveal identities or how many people read the article. The broader goal is to expand the social experience to also include a way to discuss the news articles within Artifact itself.

The app is similar to China's Toutiao and Japan's SmartNews in that it leverages algorithms and machine learning technology to curate news for each user based on how they engage with the content. Systrom notes that the technology that underlies Artifact, the transformer, was invented in 2017 at Google and the rise of new applications of this core technology is leading to the emergence of new news apps.