Has lightning ever struck twice? With the release of the next social media platform created by Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, that seems to be the topic being posed today. According to a story in The Verge, the pair have started a new company to examine social apps, which features Artifact, a tailored news reader, as its debut offering.

Although the app itself is not yet accessible to the general public, there is a waitlist where interested individuals can register. According to the description, it sounds like a modernised version of Google Reader, a discontinued RSS newsreader tool that Google discontinued in 2013. With the exception of this instance, Artifact is defined as a newsreader that combines social features that let users discuss articles they come across with friends with machine learning to customise the experience for the user.

According to an article on The Verge, Artifact will first display a curated selection of news pieces, but they will gradually adapt to the user’s preferences. The authors of some of the pieces, like The New York Times, will be well-known, while smaller websites may be the source of other items. Controls over comments, separate feeds for articles posted by people you follow along with their opinion, and a direct message inbox for more private discussion of postings are additional important elements.

The idea appears to share some similarities with one of Twitter’s more significant use cases for sharing news. Additionally, it comes at a time when Twitter users are contemplating other choices following Elon Musk’s takeover of the service and his haphazard implementation of a number of divisive policy and roadmap changes that have alienated some steadfast Twitter users.

However, the team believes that recent advances in machine-learning technology could help offer Artifact a competitive advantage, much to how algorithmic recommendations have helped TikTok become a well-known app.

Although it’s debatable that TikTok’s customised For You feed is addicting, The WSJ said that the video app’s rise was spurred by record-breaking marketing spend on its user acquisition efforts, which reportedly reached $1 billion per year in 2018. Even with outstanding founders, a firm might not have as much fuel to add to the fire. Additionally, news consumption as a whole appears to be a bit of a dated industry to pursue in a time when younger Gen Z users are increasingly using entertainment apps like TikTok to remain up to date on news and international events.

With the creators offering to make the “subjective” and “hard” decisions regarding the content on its network, it is also entering a polarised news ecosystem.

That being said, it’s tough to discount the achievements of individuals who created Instagram, which, at $1 billion, was one of the most expensive purchases of social media at the time and has influenced how the world interacts with social media, for better or worse.

Artifact is still in the early stages of development and hasn’t yet been monetized, but a revenue-sharing arrangement with publishers was suggested as a potential choice.

Though it appears that the founders plan to test other new social products through their new business, it is possible that the success of the app as a whole won’t ultimately matter.

Sign-ups are currently being accepted on Artifact’s website from those with U.S. (+1) phone numbers.

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