Yahoo is heard to Acquire AI News App ‘ Artifact’ from Instagram Co-founders


The co-founders of Instagram developed a potent and practical tool for recommending news to readers, but struggled to achieve widespread adoption. Meanwhile, Yahoo boasts hundreds of millions of readers but lacks the cutting-edge appeal necessary to stand out among the myriad of news aggregators on the internet. Consequently, the two entities have decided to merge: Yahoo is acquiring Artifact, as announced on Tuesday.

Although the exact terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, both parties clarified that Yahoo is acquiring Artifact’s technology rather than its team. Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom, Artifact’s co-founders, will serve as “special advisors” for Yahoo but will not be joining the company. The remaining five employees of Artifact have either secured other positions or plan to take some time off.

The acquisition comes just over a year after Artifact’s launch and approximately three months after Systrom and Krieger announced its closure. In January, the co-founders explained that while Artifact had garnered a devoted user base, they concluded that the market opportunity wasn’t substantial enough to justify further investment. Their decision to shut down was motivated by the desire to focus on endeavors with broader reach and impact.

After publicly announcing the shutdown, Systrom and Krieger did not actively seek buyers or attempt to raise additional funds. However, they received interest from several companies. Systrom revealed that he engaged in approximately 10 conversations with potential suitors following the shutdown announcement. Many organizations, he noted, recognized the significance of news and personalized content, prompting them to explore the potential of AI-driven technologies.

Yahoo was among the companies that reached out to Artifact. According to Kat Downs Mulder, the general manager for Yahoo News, Yahoo became interested in an acquisition after learning about Artifact’s closure. She praised Artifact’s meticulous approach to content categorization and recommendation systems, acknowledging the challenges associated with optimizing user experience in this domain. While Yahoo has been actively working on personalization and recommendation features, Artifact’s technology offered something unique.

For Artifact, the acquisition by Yahoo presents an opportunity to reach a significantly larger audience. With over 185 million monthly visitors to Yahoo News, Artifact’s technology will be exposed to a much broader user base than it could have achieved independently. Systrom views this as a chance to witness the technology flourish at scale, a feat that was challenging to attain on Artifact’s own platform.

Although the integration with Yahoo will occur gradually, both parties anticipate significant advancements in personalized content delivery and user experience as a result of the merger.

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