Artifact, the personalized news aggregator built by Instagram’s co-founders, is launching a new feature today that takes the app in a different direction beyond tracking, summarizing and commenting on the news. Now, users will be able to share any link from the web in order to view a personalized feed of links based on their interests — something that puts the app in more direct competition with social apps for sharing text or links, like X or Threads.
The feature, simply called Links, is meant to showcase what’s possible with Artifiact’s AI technology, the company explains.
To get started, you only have to share a URL, which is then presented in a visual feed within a new Links tab in the app. Here, a familiarly named “For You” feed will show you other links based on your interests.
In addition to sharing a link, Artifact’s users are also able to optionally write a caption or add photos to share their thoughts or “hot takes,” or curate the most interesting photos as part of their post. This has the effect of turning users into creators of a sort who could build a following on Artifact. The company says the app will begin showing posted links to other relevant people to help the creator build an audience.
In addition, the new Links feature will offer creative tools that help users quickly upload, crop and reorder their images. And, to help with caption writing, creators can turn to Artifact’s AI, which was originally used to summarize long news stories.
Creators can also share quotes when reading articles on Artifact by highlighting text and then choosing “Share to Links” from the new pop-up menu.
The company says early adopters have shared new products, videos, headline recaps, app reviews, recipes, architecture slideshows and much more via Links. This makes the app feel like a competitor to not only social apps like X, but also Flipboard, whose social magazines are curated by its users, or even a link pinboarding sites like Pinterest.
Though Artifact had been inching into social networking territory with recent launches that added commenting on articles and tools for writers to claim their profiles and track their readership, the new Links feature goes a step further.
Now, users can search for and follow anyone who’s created a social profile on the app. Here, new posts from people you follow will appear under a new “Following” section. These profiles have been redesigned to feature recent links posted, as well.
With Links, using Artifact becomes less of a passive experience for news reading and one where its users can actively participate in news discovery. But that could also mean some users may try to feed the app with content from smaller sites, blogs and other less legitimate news sources where information isn’t as thoroughly fact-checked as the mainstream publications Artifact first supported.
The company says it will address this potential problem with a two-layered approach. First, it will leverage AI that utilizes a number of third-party moderation services to look for bad content, as defined in its community guidelines. The second layer is a manual review that is both crowdsourced and actively monitored by the team, we’re told.
“The same AI that powers article discovery can be used for anything on the web — though it’s less tractable to crawl it all, and likely better to let users choose the best stuff,” explains Artifact co-founder Kevin Systrom, who built the app alongside his Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger. “Artifact is about feeding your curiosity, and that goes beyond the best publishers in the world. Sometimes the best content is on a small blog that deserves to be discovered on a platform like this,” he adds.
The Links feature is available on iOS and Android, with posting coming very soon to Android.