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19th of July 2018

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Facebook confirms that it’s acquiring Bloomsbury AI

Facebook announced this morning that the London-based team at Bloomsbury AI will be joining the company.

My colleague Steve O’Hear broke the news about the acquisition, reporting that Facebook would deploy the team and technology to assist in its efforts to fight fake news and address other content issues.

In fact, Bloomsbury AI co-founder and Head of Research Sebastian Riedel also co-founded Factmata, a startup that purports to have developed tools to help brands combat fake news.

Facebook doesn’t quite put it that way in the announcement post. Instead, it says the team’s “expertise will strengthen Facebook’s efforts in natural language processing research, and help us further understand natural language and its applications” — but it certainly seems possible that those applications could include detecting misinformation and other problematic content.

While financial terms were not disclosed, we reported that Facebook is paying between $23 and $30 million. Bloomsbury AI is an alumnus of Entrepreneur First, and it was also backed by Fly.VC, Seedcamp, IQ Capital, UCL Technology Fund and the U.K. taxpayer-funded London Co-investment Fund.

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