Reddit acquires machine learning platform Spell to improve contextual matching algorithms

Reddit is looking to improve its algorithm matching and spam detection, with the acquisition of the machine learning platform Spell, which will enhance the platform’s capability in a variety of ways.

Spell enables teams to run large-scale machine learning experiments, which will provide Reddit with more ability to better understand what works and how to optimize its systems to ensure the best results, both in matching topics and abuse detection.

As explained by Reddit:

Using Spell’s technology and expertise, we will be able to accelerate the integration of ML into our Product, Security and Advertising teams. Spell team members have joined Reddit and will support existing ML projects and lead new ML projects across the company related to how we identify and rank contextual relevance, curate conversations, personalize placements advertisers and protect communities.

This could help ensure that users receive more relevant posts and updates, which will improve Reddit’s engagement and could make it a more compelling app to compete against other platforms.

Spell, meanwhile, explained how it will contribute to the Reddit experience, with its automated processes allowing for a better and safer process.

Reddit is a special place: home to a huge diversity of subreddits dedicated to every conceivable interest, it hosts more discussions and real human connections than any other site of its kind. Reddit’s mission is to bring community, belonging, and empowerment to everyone around the world, and we believe achieving that mission will require a platform that can better understand content, communities, and users. .

This could be a big step, because based on audience data reported by Reddit, it actually appears to be losing ground as more users switch to TikTok for trending memes.

In late 2019, Reddit claimed to have 430 million monthly active userswhich he amended in 2020, reporting instead 52 million daily assets. There’s no definitive correlation between daily and monthly usage, so only Reddit would know for sure, but it’s likely indicative of a drop in users – unless only around 12% of its monthly users are logging on. daily.

But even more recently, on Reddit press siteit now reports 50 million users.

Reddit press data

This seems to suggest that Reddit’s user base is slowly declining, so better contextual matching could be a big addition, helping to further present the best content to each individual user of the app.

Because there’s a lot of good stuff out there, relevant to specific interests. Reddit just needs to get better at featuring such content – ​​and as we’ve seen with TikTok, the ability to highlight the best and most relevant content for each user can yield huge engagement benefits.

Reddit works much the same way as TikTok, with its “Popular” feed taking the best content from across the app, instead of limiting your experience to just subreddits and/or users you follow.

Given that, Spell’s systems might be just what he needs to optimize his process.

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