Reddit is buying machine learning platform Spell

·1 min read

Reddit announced Thursday that it would buy Spell, a platform for running machine learning experiments, for an undisclosed amount.

Spell was founded by former Facebook engineer Serkan Piantino in 2016 to provide a cloud computing solution to allow anyone to run resource-intensive ML experiments without the high end hardware that would normally be necessary. The company defines its mission as the pursuit of "the best possible platform for anyone looking to develop powerful, reliable, and safe software using Machine Learning and AI," according to their website.

Reddit currently uses machine learning for personalized recommendations and the Discover Tab, which the app introduced this year. The company also leverages the technology for its safety work and targeted advertising.

Spell will be closing access to new commercial customers in the midst of the acquisition. Some of the company's team members will move over to Reddit and will work on ML projects that determine how Reddit customizes ad placements, defines contextual relevance and keeps its communities safe.

"Serkan and his team are a great fit and we look forward to seeing how their capabilities and talent help us make Reddit simpler, richer, and more relevant," Reddit Chief Product Officer Pali Bhat said in the announcement.

Reddit notes that the acquisition is aligned with its existing mission to ensure that any AI the company works on is transparent and does not perpetuate bias. In a blog post, Spell's leadership called Reddit a "special place" and said that Spell would provide the social network a platform "that can better understand content, communities, and users."