Instagram creators launch news reading app called Artifact

3 February 2023

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, creators of the original Instagram, who sold the photo-sharing to Facebook for one billion dollars in 2018, have launched a new app called Artifact. Rather than curating photos though, Artifact serves up popular news articles and blog posts:

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. 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.

Artifact sounds like the sort app I could make use of, but ads appearing on the news pages the app displays, don’t make for a smooth reading experience, according to John Gruber, writing at Daring Fireball, who has been trialling Artifact:

I’ll give it some time, but at the moment, it’s a disappointment. The articles they show come directly from publishers’ websites, but because Artifact isn’t a web browser, per se, there’s no ad filtering. It’s just ads ads ads, interrupting seemingly every single article, every couple of paragraphs. This same “man, I miss ad blockers” feeling strikes me when I use Apple News too, but Apple News articles have way fewer ads, and better ads, than what I’m seeing so far in articles I read in Artifact.


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