Artifact Fades Away: Instagram Founders' News and Social Media App Calls it Quits After Just Over a Year

Artifact Fades Away: Instagram Founders’ News and Social Media App Calls it Quits After Just Over a Year

Just over a year after launch, Artifact – the news/social media app from Instagram’s founders – is shutting down.

Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, who sold Instagram to Meta (Facebook) in 2012, unveiled Artifact in January 2022. The app aimed to reinvent news and discussion by using AI to suggest personalized articles and let users share content.

But in a blog post Friday, Systrom announced Artifact will close next month, saying it failed to find a viable market niche.

“The reality is that building new consumer brands demands scale and patience over several years – two things a startup often can’t afford,” he explained.

Artifact tried straddling social media and news aggregation. Its AI curated articles based on your tastes and also let you post links with commentary. You could follow friends and writers, liking and commenting on each other’s posts.

However, the crowded landscape offered fierce competition. Established platforms like Twitter, Apple News, even Instagram itself encroached on Artifact’s hybrid model. With Threads, Instagram now facilitates topic-based conversations – similar to Artifact.

In the end, Systrom said the app didn’t present a clear path forward or justify more resources. Though a tough call, shutting down allows his team to avoid wasting more time on an uncertain product.

Systrom thanked Artifact’s community of users, partners and employees for their support and passion. Users can still access saved news articles until late February. But the app will disable posting/commenting, requiring oversight the truncated team can’t provide.

While Artifact failed to take off, Systrom said he was proud of what they built and the experience gained. The app tried to blaze a new trail fusing news and discussion, though ultimately the terrain proved too treacherous.

The founders’ star power wasn’t enough to overcome market dynamics, especially with big platforms rapidly expanding features.