SmartNews said it has reached more than 10 million monthly active users in the U.S. and Japan for its news discovery experience that is curated by machine language and trusted journalism sources.
The news app curates news from more than 3,000 trusted sources, and it has seen 200 percent growth year-over-year in the U.S.
“What we have accomplished in the last 12 months both in Japan and in the U.S. demonstrates the long-term potential of SmartNews’s vision of delivering quality information to the world,” said Ken Suzuki, CEO of Tokyo-based SmartNews, in a statement. “We will continue to focus, in the coming months, on developing new features to provide more content that truly matters to our users.”
The company said it counters “fake news” through machine learning, first by using natural language processing to correctly categorize the news (miscategorization is one of the ways fake news takes advantage of platforms).
Then it analyzes a variety of proprietary signals beyond false signals like likes and clicks. It examines if the user read the entire article to completion, or if the user shared it, or if the publisher has a good performance history. And it uses machine learning to apply political balancing algorithms to ensure multiple viewpoints are expressed on important topics. Lastly, it applies algorithms for diversification, which helps break the filter bubble by exposing hidden gems that you might not normally see in your usual social network.
SmartNews is available for free on Google Play or Apple’s App Store. The company has more than 120 employees, and it has relations with 300 global media brands including Reuters, USA Today, the Associated Press, and Vice.
“The monthly active user growth trajectory of SmartNews is impressive in Japan and in the U.S. in the last 12 months, especially combined with over six hours of usage per user per month on average,” said Danielle Levitas, analyst and executive at market researcher App Annie, in a statement.
Rivals in the U.S. include Apple News, Google News, Flipboard, and Yahoo NewsRoom. In Japan, competitors include Yahoo Japan!, Line News, and Gunosy. The company was founded in June 2012 in Japan, and it launched in October 2014 in the U.S.
To date, the company has raised $88.3 million.