The AI-driven news app Artifact from Instagram co-founders shuts down after just one year

One year after its January 2023 launch, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, the co-founders of Instagram, are closing down Artifact, an AI-driven news aggregation app.

While Artifact has built a devoted user base that enjoyed the app, Systrom stated in a blog post announcing the shutdown that the total market opportunity was insufficient to warrant further investment.

“Although we have created something that a core user base finds appealing, we have determined that the market opportunity isn’t significant enough to support ongoing investment in this manner,” Systrom stated.

Since its launch last year, Artifact has introduced a number of new features, such as the capacity to identify accounts as clickbait and comment on them, as well as a publishing option similar to Twitter. These latter capabilities, however, required a great deal of moderation, which Artifact’s small 8-person staff was unable to provide.

Over the following several weeks, Artifact will start to remove functionality to facilitate the transition. The first feature to go will be the ability to create new posts and comments. Posts that already exist will be temporarily viewable as the team seeks to minimize the need for moderation. The primary function of the app, which is to collect news, will stay operational until the end of February to allow users to locate substitute services.

Despite Artifact’s closure, Systrom had a positive outlook on the future, stating that he was personally eager to investigate novel concepts in the AI field, which seemed to be rich with opportunities. The difficulty Artifact was having determining a clear product-market fit was probably compounded by the growing competition in the market for conversation platforms similar to Twitter and the decreasing development of news aggregators.

Artifact never really came together as a cohesive product, despite its best efforts to set itself apart with AI-powered features like rewritten article summaries. It hadn’t made it obvious what it was—a chat platform, a link-sharing service, or a news engine with AI enhancements. It was difficult to grow because of its wide emphasis and the requirements of content management.