Artifact, the personalized news curation app from Instagram’s co-founders, no longer has a waitlist. The app is live in the Apple App Store in most English-speaking markets, as well as on Android. Starting today, you’ll no longer need a phone number to use Artifact unless you want to create an account and move to a different device.
In addition, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger’s team has added more features, including a social element. There’s now the option to upload your contacts to see if a certain article has gained traction with your friends. A badge will appear next to an article that’s popular enough among your contacts.
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
Systrom told TechCrunch that you can’t see which of your specific friends have read a story or how many. There’s a threshold before the badge appears too, so you won’t be able to just upload a single contact and use the feature to track what they’re reading. These, apparently, are privacy considerations, but they overlook the fact that you’ll need to upload your contacts’ details to use it.
In another time, Artifact might have tapped into Twitter to see what the people you’re following are reading (akin to the Top Articles feature for Blue subscribers). But with Elon Musk severely restricting Twitter’s APIs, that may no longer be viable.
Eventually, Artifact will have a way for users to share and comment on articles in the app. The beta version already has a Discover feed of things people are sharing. Naturally, users can like and comment on those shared articles.
The app now has a stats feature that visualizes the categories you’ve been reading most often, as well as the publishers you’ve been reading the most. Artifact is grouping articles into more narrowly defined topics as well. Meanwhile, you can now indicate when you don’t like an article or publisher and the app will show you less of that. It’s possible to block publishers too.
I’ve been using Artifact for a few weeks and I’m enjoying it so far. Unsurprisingly, the suggestions have become more attuned to my tastes the more I use it and tell it what I don’t want to see. It reminds me a bit of Facebook’s old Paper app, my favorite thing Meta has built to date. Artifact doesn’t have anything like the social graph of Facebook, but given that the Instagram guys are behind it, it’s hard to bet against their new app finding success.