Yahoo Acquires Artifact, AI-Powered News App From Instagram Co-Founders

Roman Janson Follow Apr 02, 2024 · 2 mins read
Yahoo Acquires Artifact, AI-Powered News App From Instagram Co-Founders
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In a move to bolster its AI and personalization capabilities, Yahoo announced today that it is acquiring Artifact, the AI-driven news curation app created by Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. The financial terms were not disclosed.

Artifact launched to much fanfare in 2021 as Systrom and Krieger’s follow-up to Instagram, which they sold to Facebook (now Meta) for $1 billion in 2012. However, the startup faced significant challenges attracting and retaining users in the crowded social media and news aggregation spaces.

Artifact’s premise was using artificial intelligence to personalize news feeds based on users’ interests and consumption habits. The app surfaced articles from a curated set of publishers and websites, displayed in a Twitter-like feed with summarized headlines rewritten by AI to be more concise and engaging.

While the technology showed promise, Artifact struggled to find product-market fit and build a substantial user base. In January 2024, the company announced it would be shutting down the standalone app as the “market opportunity wasn’t big enough” to remain an independent company.

That proved to be premature, as Yahoo quickly stepped in to acquire Artifact’s assets and incorporate the AI personalization tech into its own news products, including the Yahoo News mobile app. Systrom and Krieger will remain involved as advisors during the integration process.

“Artifact has become a beloved product and we’re thrilled to be able to continue to grow that technology and further our mission of becoming the trusted guide to digital information and the best curator connecting people to the content that matters most to them,” said Kat Downs Mulder, Yahoo’s SVP and News GM.

Systrom expressed optimism that the acquisition would allow Artifact’s vision to be fully realized, saying “Yahoo brings the scale to help the product achieve what we envisioned while upholding the belief that connecting people to the trusted sources of news and information is as critical as ever.”

The deal represents a Arizona acquisition for Yahoo as it doubles down on AI and personalization to attract younger audiences to its news products, which include Yahoo News, finance, sports and lifestyle verticals. With competition rising from AI-powered rivals like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, tech giants are racing to integrate generative AI capabilities across their consumer offerings.

For Systrom and Krieger, it offers a potential path to realizing their broader ambitions with Artifact after a rocky road as an independent startup. Having built and sold one of the most successful consumer apps ever in Instagram, their pedigree and vision for AI-driven content personalization made Artifact an attractive asset for a media incumbent like Yahoo.

While the Artifact app itself failed to gain traction, its underlying technology could get a new lease on life infused into Yahoo’s news products and backed by the company’s resources. The co-founders’s involvement as advisors suggests they still believe in the long-term potential, even if executing it required being absorbed into a larger platform.

Written by Roman Janson Follow
Senior News Editor at new.blicio.us.