In order to shore up its ability to detect malevolent attempts to manipulate its increasingly potent social networking platform, Twitter has acquired London-based startup Fabula AI.
Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed. The deal comes as Twitter finds itself under the microscope over its oversight of its own platform and what occurs on it. CEO Jack Dorsey repeatedly asserting his preference to favor a laissez-faire approach as opposed to stepping in to rule on whether certain activity should be permitted. Critics contend that hate groups and a range of objectionable behavior has taken root as a result. The company’s financial results have reflected some of the friction as far as platform integrity, with user counts no longer being provided after a major purge last summer of fake “bot” accounts.
The investment in Fabula “will be a key driver as we work to help people feel safe on Twitter and help them see relevant information,” Twitter CTO Parag Agrawal wrote in a blog post announcing the deal. “Specifically, by studying and understanding the Twitter graph, comprised of the millions of tweets, retweets and likes shared on Twitter every day, we will be able to improve the health of the conversation, as well as products including the timeline, recommendations, the explore tab and the onboarding experience.”
Twitter stock fell 5.5% to $34.41 on Monday, declining along with Facebook (-7.5%), Google parent Alphabet (-6%) and Amazon (5%) amid reports of heavier regulatory scrutiny of the tech giants.
On a decidedly less ominous note, Apple said Twitter’s app for Macintosh computer would be returning more than a year after it was pulled off the computing platform. The news was one of many announcements at Apple’s annual developer conference in San Jose.