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Yahoo buys AI-powered news app Artifact

While the app is shutting down, its proprietary technology has a new opportunity to scale with Yahoo.

By Tech Monitor Staff

Yahoo has acquired Artifact, the AI-driven news discovery platform. Artifact will no longer function as a standalone app, but its proprietary technology will be integrated across Yahoo’s network.

The news app, created by Instagram co-founders, Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom, leveraged AI to enhance personalisation in improving the delivery of relevant news to its users. Its algorithm categorises content based on a user’s interests over time, producing a personalised news feed in what has been described as a “TikTok for text” format.

However, Artifact had encountered challenges scaling its proprietary technology. Through the acquisition, Yahoo will integrate the Artifact algorithm across its news network, which attracts some 180 million visitors per month.

Yahoo says the opportunity to bring this IP into Yahoo’s portfolio will accelerate opportunities to connect with users while offering more personalised content experiences.

The acquisition of Artifact comes one year after its creation and three months after its founders announced the app’s shutdown.

“We have built something that a core group of users love,” the co-founders wrote in January, “but we have concluded that the market opportunity isn’t big enough to warrant continued investment in this way.” They said the key reason for the shut down was to focus on “newer, bigger and better things that have the ability to reach many millions of people”.

Artifact news app
The Artifact app used an algortihm to create a “TikTok for text” style user experience which Yahoo will integrate across its news network to increase personalisation. (Photo by Koshiro K via Shutterstock)

Yahoo aims to take Artifact’s algorithm further

A potential acquisition piqued Yahoo’s interest following the shutdown announcement, said Kat Downs Mulder, SVP and GM at Yahoo News. “Yahoo was one of the first to combine human and algorithmic curation of news. Since then, the landscape of machine learning and personalisation has changed dramatically and Artifact has innovated with best-in-class technology to meet the moment.”

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“Artifact has become a beloved product and we’re thrilled to be able to continue to grow that technology and further our mission of becoming the trusted guide to digital information and the best curator connecting people to the content that matters most to them.”

Neither company has disclosed the total cost of the acquisition, and Yahoo will acquire the news app’s technology rather than its team. Artifact’s co-founders, Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom, will become “special advisers” for Yahoo, but they will not be joining the company.

Yahoo to offer more personalised news experience with Artifact

The major web services provider and news platform said in a statement that the acquisition “advances Yahoo’s commitment to bringing trusted news and information to hundreds of millions of users globally” helping to accelerate their vision to offer a more personalised experience for discovering news and information across platforms.

“Yahoo brings the scale to help the product achieve what we envisioned while upholding the belief that connecting people to the trusted sources of news and information is as critical as ever,” said Systrom, CEO and co-founder of Artifact. “AI has allowed us to give users a better experience discovering great content they care about. Yahoo recognises that opportunity, and we could not be more excited to see what we’ve built live on through Yahoo News.”

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