Ins founder recreates American version

Image source @ vision china

Text | Most Words FunTalk, Author | He Yiran, Editor | Wang Fangjie

The Instagram startup duo is back.

Two thousand and twenty-threeIn February 2008, a model namedArtifactThe news software is quietly launched in the American app store.The operators behind the platform are the founders of Instagram, kevin systrom and Mike Craig.

The two founders announced the news on their personal Instagram account. Strom wrote: "Recently, machine learning has created many amazing things. We are very excited and are bringing it to this new application."

The only regret is that the official posts of the two founders have only a few thousand likes.

Indeed, Strom and Craig have been out of public view for too long.

Two012Year, online 1eightHarvest 3 next month000Ten thousand users, all employees only 1threePeople’s Instagram was used by Facebook with 1ZeroBillion dollars acquisition,Strom, founder and CEO of Instagram, gained a net worth of $400 million with this transaction.

In the next six years, Strom and co-founder Craig continued to be responsible for the operation of this photo social media within Facebook, and maintained a relatively high degree of independence and freedom.

With the number of Instagram users exceeding 1 billion, and the annual income exceeding 10 billion dollars, the user competition between Facebook and Instagram has become more and more acute. Zuckerberg wants to get involved in the operation of Instagram more and more, and the friendly and cooperative relationship between the two parties has gradually come to an end.

The scandal at Cambridge Analytica brought the differences of opinion on the table.Two018Nian 1ZeroIn June, Strom and Craig announced that they were leaving Facebook.

At that time, the two men thanked Facebook executives and the team along the way emotionally, but they also said interestingly: "When you decide to leave, you must have your own reasons."

In the statement, the two men also wrote: "We plan to take time out to explore our curiosity and creativity again.Creating new things requires us to take a step back to understand what motivates us and match it with the needs of the world. "

Just from the current situation of Artifact, this application of personalized news recommendation based on user behavior is not like an innovative product driven by curiosity and creativity. At least for now, it’s very much like today’s headline, a China APP that was born in the same year as Instagram.


Artifact is not a news software with content produced by creators, but a text-based social software with integrated content.The name of Artifact combines articles, facts and artificial intelligence., known as a flagship "AI personalized newsSocial application of "function.

After users register and log in, the platform will push a series of articles, including professional media organizations, personal account blogs, or fragmented thread content.

After the user clicks on the article of interest, the software will recommend new articles according to the user’s reading preferences and the length of stay. Users can also visualize their browsing preferences and encourage in-depth reading. At the same time, users can pay attention to their friends on the platform, browse the summaries of articles watched by friends and see the comments left by friends. The platform also has a private chat function for users to share their views.

According to foreign media reports, Strom and Craig began to discuss related ideas several years ago, especially after seeing the recent industry changes brought by machine learning, they thought it was time to act. The machine learning system that Strom relishes actually refers to the transformer system launched by Google in 2017, which is also one of the foundations of the recent hot AI chat robot ChatGPT.

Strom said that he used to be skeptical about the ability of machine learning systems to improve recommendations, but his experience in Instagram changed his view. He said: "Over the years, every time we use machine learning to improve the consumer experience, things will get better quickly."

It is reported that Artifact is developed by a team of seven people, many of whom have worked in Instagram.At present, Artifact has not received financing, mainly from the personal sponsorship of Strom and Craig.

Due to the success of Instagram, although the performance on the consumer side has not been brilliant in the past month, Artifact has attracted the attention of the industry. Foreign media compared it to a text-based TikTok or a more personalized Google Reader, and even called it a sneak attack on Twitter.


The media said that the Artifact sword refers to Twitter, and there may also be the origin of Strom’s personal experience behind it.

In fact, he is not a computer major, but a management science and engineering major at Stanford University. During his college years, Strom got the opportunity to enter the summer internship of Odeo in a project that the college cooperated with venture capital companies, and Odeo was the predecessor of Twitter. During this period,Strim met Jack Dorsey and ivan Wilhemlms, the founders of Twitter, and it is said that he also discussed with Dorsey how to develop social application software.Perhaps there is a prototype of Instagram in the discussion.

Back at school, Strom began to conceive an application that integrated pictures and social functions. At this time, Facebook is already a social company rising in Ran Ran, with a market value of 500 million dollars, and it also hopes to continue to exert its strength in the photo agency.

At that time, Zuckerberg invited Strom to join, but after consulting the teacher, Strom was skeptical about the prospects of this emerging platform and joined Google’s acquisition department after graduation. After working for 2 years, he started his entrepreneurial journey.

October 2009, StromLBS social application developed using web pagesBurbnrelease; be online, get $500,000investment.In 2010, Craig joined as a technical partner and Instagram officially came out.

It can be said that Strom’s interest has always been around social applications, and it has been changing with the development of the industry. With the strong rise of Tik Tok in the world, he re-examined the weaknesses of the existing platform.

Twitter and Instagram are based on users’ attention to recommend platform content, but this method obviously does not meet the personalized needs of consumers. After all, the most important thing to pay attention to is the user’s own behavior.

Strom believes that now is the right time, not only to seize the new wave of consumer technology development, but also to find a way to combine with social platforms in the new wave, and he and Craig have been doing product design from the customer’s point of view.

of course,In the era when short videos are just popular, it is a bit old to pick up text social software again. And the regression text is the discovery point after they explore life.As more and more users are tired of lively short videos, and users have a need to return to the basics of social media, the experience brought by words is still irreplaceable.

To some extent, Twitter is still the most famous social media focusing on text content, and it is also an important carrier for many users to get news and express their personal opinions. Due to the entry of Musk, the wayward reform of the world’s richest man has made many old users feel tired, especially those who like to post serious views on politics, economy and TMT on Twitter in the Doce era. They want to have a more suitable platform.

The emergence of Artifact can just catch this part of users. Although the absolute scale of opinion leaders is not necessarily large, these bloggers who publish original comments and opinions have a great influence on news dissemination and are expected to attract higher attention.

At the same time,Strim said that the platform will filter false news, maintain a neutral attitude and strive to provide users with high-quality content.. "One of the problems facing technology recently is that many companies are unwilling to make subjective judgments based on quality and whether it is conducive to human progress. Just make a decision based on the merits, no matter how difficult it is. " Obviously, he knows that the outside world is worried that the Facebook Cambridge analysis scandal will be staged again.


2022 was a traumatic year for technology companies, and most companies suffered setbacks. For the duo who have no life pressure, starting a new business in this period may ruin their reputation, and the challenges they will face before starting again may exceed expectations.

Spending your own money is actually a taboo for starting a business, but for Strom and Craig, it is possible to win the support of investors and make compromise adjustments at this stage. It is better to rely on past successful results to ensure that the products are completely in line with personal plans.

At present, the two people hold a more positive and optimistic attitude. After all, their past resumes give them confidence to attract investors.

If you just make a small and beautiful application that meets the needs of users, the strength of the duo is enough, but for investors, the business model may become a hurdle.

ChatGPT’s popularity lies in bringing more accurate content than users expected, which makes users willing to use more accurate information and provide more productive paid versions. Backed by Microsoft, ChatGPT is bound to impact the online advertising business of Google search, although the specific implantation mode remains to be explored.

Judging from the benchmark Tik Tok,Previously, short news applications in the United States once set off a wave for a while, but the popularity soon went down. After all, large media companies and news platforms in the United States have their own subscription software, and it is difficult for integrated software to reach an agreement with every company on copyright issues, and it is also difficult to attract advertisers naturally.

There is a good saying, in essence, all the money-making modes of the Internet can be attributed to the mode of selling goods. The waterloo of news applications makes the outside world doubt the profit prospect of Artifact. It may be difficult for users to stay on the platform for a long time just by providing links to articles.If we can gain a foothold in the highly competitive market,Does Artifact develop a subscription payment model or attract advertisers to try to embed it in the text?

Making profits is not the duo’s strong point.

Before Facebook’s acquisition, Instagram itself didn’t make any profit, even though the platform online celebrity was already making money. Although Strom and Craig have maintained their dominance of the platform during their six years on Facebook, from the perspective of commercialization and profitability, perhaps the executives appointed by Zaza and Sandenberg have brought more changes. Since 2018, Instagram has introduced the checkout function and short video service, and exerted its strength at both ends of advertising and e-commerce.At present, Instagram has surpassed Facebook in revenue and is the biggest cash cow of Meta.

As a text-based social big brother, Twitter’s commercialization process has been slow for many years, and it can only rely on the small advertising business, which makes Musk, who has always been rampaging, quite a headache.