Twitter has announced that it has acquired Smyte, a San Francisco, California-based technology company that offers tools to restrict online spam, abuse, and fraud. The latest acquisition is aimed to help the micro-blogging site uplift its user experience, which it has long been under pressure for. As a result of the new move, Smyte is shutting down its business, though its technology and team will be integrated within Twitter. It could eventually contribute to put a hold on hate speech and limit the circulation of fake news that both are amongst the key challenges for the company that is widely known for giving tweets as a source of public conversation.
Launched in 2014 by former Google and Instagram engineers, Smyte has served various large and small clients with tools and processes to make the online experience safer. These tools and processes will now help Twitter. “Smyte’s products will help us address challenges in safety, spam and security more quickly and effectively. Their review tools and processes will be powerful additions to our own tools and technology that help us keep Twitter safe,” Twitter said in a blog post.
In the recent past, the rise of hate speech has hit Twitter’s reputation badly. The company last month even revised its strategy for fighting abusive Internet “trolls” by using behavioural signals to identify harassers. It also lately started adding special labels to tweets from some political candidates in the US to prevent fake accounts. Nonetheless, the micro-blogging site is yet to offer a completely abuse-free experience.
This is where Twitter believes that Smyte’s acquisition will help. “The Smyte team has dealt with many unique issues facing online safety and believes in the same proactive approach that we’re taking for Twitter: stopping the abusive behaviour before it impacts anyone’s experience,” the company said in a blog post.
Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. However, it is confirmed that the technology and team owned by Smyte will now be a part of Twitter. As a result of this development, Smyte is shutting down its business, effective immediately. The company has also immediately removed access to Smyte’s API without releasing any prior warning to its existing customers, TechCrunch reported.
Smyte has clients such as Indiegogo, GoFundMe, Musical.ly, TaskRabbit, Meetup, OLX, and Zendesk among others that all have no time to move to a service provider. Several customers have reached Twitter to report the production outage due to the sudden discontinuation of Smyte API. “A vendor notified us of their acquisition at 6am this morning and shut down their APIs 30 minutes later, creating a production outage for npm (package publishes and user registrations). The sheer unprofessionalism of this is blowing my mind,” one of the clients tweeted.
Twitter has made it clear that it will integrate the technology of Smyte “to strengthen” its systems and operations in the coming months. However, there isn’t any clarity on the existing clients of Smyte tools and processes.