Artifact, the significantly less addictive app brought to you by the creators of Instagram, was originally pitched essentially as a TikTok For You page, but for news. But after launching its brand new social discussions feature, which rolled out on April 11, it looks a lot more like Reddit.
The app launched in February and intended to merge articles, facts, and AI. One of the creators, Mike Krieger, called it “a personalized news feed driven by the latest in artificial intelligence.” You could always DM people from the app, but it didn’t really invoke a lot of community-forming emotions. For the first few weeks of its existence, using the platform felt a lot like using Pocket or Apple News but, honestly, worse.
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Now, users can create profiles, comment on articles, upvote and downvote (hi Reddit), and earn a “reputation” (not Taylors Version). It seems like these new features — particularly the comment abilities — could help make Artifact a social media app instead of just a news platform. The new social discussions component on Artifact will allow users to comment on articles and engage in conversation around news, according to TechCrunch. Users can’t comment on the articles without creating a profile — which requires a phone number and includes a display name — Artifact confirmed to Mashable.
While this might make Artifact more interesting for users, it’s also opening a Pandora’s box of moderation issues which will be mitigated by “reputation scores” based on upvotes and downvotes on comments, similar to Reddit’s voting system, TechCrunch reported. That “reputation score” will display next to users’ names and profiles, and will help determine how comments are ranked.
Artifact is also relying on community flagging to help with moderation, and is “using AI models to proactively scan for problematic content” that doesn’t follow community guidelines, Artifact told Mashable in an email. But those models simply flag the content to be reviewed by their human team.
While these additions might make the platform more intriguing to the everyday user, it’s tough to imagine an app all about reading the news that beats the mind-numbing joy (and pain, and fear, and anger…) that we get from Instagram and TikTok.