Instagram co-founders creating tech platform billed as ‘TikTok for text’
Instagram’s co-founders are creating a tech platform that uses artificial intelligence to distribute personalized news. The social media entrepreneurs look to capitalize on AI advances to upend large tech companies’ grip on the distribution of information.
Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom left Instagram in 2018 after Facebook acquired their platform for about $1 billion in 2012. The duo is launching Artifact in 2023 and appears intent on taking advantage of the AI craze threatening to upend large tech platforms’ market-leading position.
“Excited to announce what @kevin and I have been working on with a talented team the past year+ — Artifact, a personalized news feed driven by the latest in artificial intelligence,” Mr. Krieger said on Instagram. “We’re gradually letting people in as we scale up; sign up for the waitlist at artifact.news.”
The founders previewed Artifact for tech writer Casey Newton, who described the new platform as an effort to capitalize on TikTok’s success while relying firmly on text.
“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,” Mr. Newton wrote on his website Platformer. “The app opens to a feed of popular articles chosen from a curated list of publishers ranging from leading news organizations like the New York Times to small-scale blogs about niche topics.”
Mr. Newton wrote that Artifact serves people similar posts and stories to the ones users click on in a manner similar to how TikTok’s algorithm surfaces news.
TikTok and Twitter are not the only prominent media platforms threatened by new tech leveraging artificial intelligence. The popularity of ChatGPT, an AI bot that creates text in response to user-made queries, has people questioning whether the AI tool can compete with Google’s search engine.
Gmail creator Paul Buchheit said in December that AI is threatening to do to web search what Google did to the Yellow Pages. Mr. Buchheit, who left Google in 2006, shared ChatGPT’s answer to a user’s query in comparison to Google Search results in a post on Twitter that noted AI solutions may replace traditional search engines in the near future.
“Google may be only a year or two away from total disruption,” Mr. Buchheit wrote on Twitter in December. “AI will eliminate the Search Engine Result Page, which is where they make most of their money.”
Google is not blind to the competitive challenges posed by artificial intelligence solutions. According to CNBC, the tech giant is testing new AI-powered chat tools following an all-hands meeting where employees raised concerns about the company’s AI work, given the rise of ChatGPT.