Artifact, the personalized news aggregation app developed by Instagram’s co-founders, no longer has a waitlist. The app is available on Android and in the Apple App Store in the majority of English-speaking markets. You won’t need a phone number to use Artifact as of right now unless you want to register an account and switch to a different device.
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More features, including a social component, have also been added by the team of Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. You can now upload your contacts to see if a specific article has become popular among your friends. If an article is well-liked enough by your contacts, a badge will be displayed next to it.
It's not a launch without a little sizzle reel ? Come join us in @ARTIFACT_News ! pic.twitter.com/QrdXctfNl1— Kevin Systrom (@kevin) February 22, 2023
You can’t see which of your specific friends have read a story or how many times, Systrom told TechCrunch. You cannot use the feature to track what a single contact is reading because there is a threshold before the badge appears. These are allegedly privacy concerns, but they fail to mention the fact that using it requires you to upload the information for your contacts.
As with the Top Articles feature for Blue subscribers, Artifact might have used Twitter in the past to track what people you follow are reading. That may not be possible now that Elon Musk has severely limited Twitter’s APIs.
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Users of Artifact will eventually be able to share and comment on articles within the app. An existing Discover feed of items that people are sharing is available in the beta version. Users can, of course, like and comment on the shared articles.
A statistics feature has been added to the app that shows the publishers and categories you’ve been reading the most frequently. Articles are additionally categorized by Artifact into more specific topics. You can now let the app know when you don’t like a publisher or article, and it will show you fewer of those in the meantime. Additionally, publishers can be blocked.
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Since I’ve been using Artifact for a few weeks, I’ve found it to be fun so far. Naturally, as I use it more and tell it what I don’t want to see, the suggestions have gotten more tailored to my preferences. My favorite Meta creation to date, it somewhat reminds me of the previous Paper app from Facebook. The social graph of Facebook is nothing like that of Artifact, but given that the Instagram team is behind it, it’s difficult to rule out the success of their new app.