Late last month, Artifact, a personalized news reader built by Instagram’s co-founders, opened to the public. The launch was a surprise to many consumers, who wondered why the team behind one of the world’s most iconic social apps would return to startups to focus on one of the toughest areas instead: news. It’s an ecosystem where publishers are failing left and right and misinformation is rampant, as the founders surely saw themselves while working at Facebook.
In an interview, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom explains what drew him to this space and how his new app’s underlying technology will serve to differentiate it from the competition.
The startup’s existence, in some ways, can be credited to the COVID pandemic, as that’s what brought the Instagram co-founders, Systrom and Mike Krieger, back together. During the early days of the pandemic in 2020, the co-founders teamed up for the first time since leaving Facebook to create a COVID-19 dashboard called Rt.live that tracked the spread of the virus across the U.S.
But in later months, other COVID trackers emerged and people were no longer as interested in tracking the virus’s spread on a state-by-state basis. Invigorated by the experience, the founders began then to think about returning to work on a “real company” instead of a public good side project.
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