Image for article titled Instagram Founders' News App Artifact Adds 'Reputation Scores' and Comments

Image: Courtesy of Artifact

Artifact, the personalized news sharing app founded by Instagram’s co-founders, has added comments and discussion on articles, marking the first public social components of the new app.

Users who want to leave comments on articles will have to create an Artifact account and add a verified phone number. Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, who started Instagram together, said in a press release the app is requiring users’ phone numbers in an effort to curtail spam and moderate content. Ideally, Systrom said he believes these protections should help prevent the platform from devolving into a toxic cesspool like other prominent news sharing apps. Krieger said the app encourages users on the platform to use their real names though they can still use pseudonyms.

Each new Artifact profile will be given a “reputation score” which can be increased or decreased based on upvotes and downvotes a user receives from other users on their comments. The reputation score is displayed next to their name. Comments will be ranked by an algorithm that takes into consideration a user’s reputation, the score of a given comment, and other signals. The company says it’s using “state of the art moderation AI models” to detect violating content. According to Artifact’s press release, the company will deploy artificial intelligence to moderate comments as well. Violating content will be removed and some users may be banned outright if deemed necessary.

“We believe the combination of these approaches will help us keep discussions more civil,” Systrom said in a press release.

What is Artifact?

Artifact is a personalized news reader revealed earlier this year, the brainchild of Systrom and Krieger after their departure from Meta, née Facebook. The app was initially released as an invite-only experience that required a US phone number. The app had a waitlist of 160,000 sign-ups at launch; its current user numbers are not publicly available.

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