Discover how Petter Larsen, the creator of www.critix.ai, is fighting against misinformation on social media. In this interview, learn about the platform’s beginnings, its purpose, and the creative ways it counters propaganda. Exclusively for PRNEWS.IO readers.
photo by Iltalehti
PRNEWS.IO: Petter, before we jump into discussing your revolutionary product, could you share a bit about yourself? Where are you from, what are your interests, and how did you get into tech?
Petter: Thanks for having me. I am a 37-year-old dad and family man with a passion for rugby. I am from Porvoo, 50km east of Helsinki, and I’ve been an entrepreneur for the past 13 years working in different fields and industries. The last question is a bit ironic because I never really got into tech. I just had a vision that required tech-minded people to join me. But I am now learning more tech-related things every day while running my first startup, Critix Media.
PRNEWS.IO: So recently Critix was launched – a news platform offering a new way to read and reflect on ongoing events. Could you explain a bit more to our readers what Critix is?
Petter: Sure, Critix is a platform that combines news articles, podcasts, blogs, and discussions about ongoing news events. We are combining the best parts of news aggregators and social media. Our goal is to give the users a better understanding of ongoing events, spark healthy conversation, fight polarisation, and encourage media companies to carry responsibility, eventually improving the quality of media.
PRNEWS.IO: How does Critix work and differentiate it from platforms like X?
Petter: Critix works like a news aggregator combined with social media. Simply put, we fetch the links to news and podcast episodes from the media companies. They are presented together with all the user blogs and discussions, creating a cluster of information on a certain event, or topic. We differentiate from social media platforms because we don’t let people post any videos or pictures of their own. All the media comes from actual media sites, making it harder to spread misinformation, and easier to trace back anything to the original source if any media company would do that. But our aim is not to compete with social media companies. We want to focus on news and our objective is not to serve the user in every possible need, like most social media do.
PRNEWS.IO: What sparked the idea (what made you create it)?
Petter: The basic idea of having a better platform where people can express themselves around news topics started in 2021 during the pandemic. I realized how the discussions on social media platforms started to get out of hand on so many fronts. People were at each other’s throats, seeing news as purely black or white, and forming super strong opinions from just one article. I felt we needed a tool to spark a healthier dialogue around news. But I also wanted to create a tool to reduce misinformation, clickbait, cyberbullying, and propaganda. Nothing happened overnight, and we have been developing the concept with the other founders and developers throughout the process. We still do.
PRNEWS.IO: Building something like Critix must have been a journey. Who supported you the most while bringing this vision to life?
Petter: When I started working on the idea in the beginning, I had a hard time explaining what I wanted to do exactly. Especially since I wasn’t sure exactly how it should be done technically. I don’t think most of my family and friends even understood what I wanted to do, but they were supportive anyway, haha.
When I got to pitch my idea to Peter Vesterbacka and Kustaa Valtonen (two startup veterans with references like Angry Birds, Slush, and the FinEst Bay area), I got very good support, and the vision started to become a solid plan. We met several times to discuss and brainstorm before we founded the company in July 2022.
PRNEWS.IO: Your past experiences must have influenced Critix. Can you share how your previous ventures shaped this platform?
Petter: My journey has taken me through diverse industries, from running restaurants and bars to managing a coworking space. While my primary focus has been in hospitality, I’ve also done event management and collaborated with a large number of startups. It’s fascinating how varied experiences can intersect and influence one another. I can’t pinpoint how each venture has shaped Critix, but I believe that we are all products of our environment and experiences. So, undoubtedly, my previous ventures have played a role in shaping aspects of this platform.
PRNEWS.IO: What impact are you hoping to make in the tech industry and for the users who engage with your platform?
Petter: We’re trying to reshape how people engage with complex issues around news. Critix promotes nuanced discourse around the news, moving away from chaos and noise to thoughtful conversations. We want individuals to pause, absorb information, and break free from the trend of picking sides on everything. Beyond that, our goal is to empower users to read in and craft their own perception of “the truth,” elevating the level of independent thinking. That being said, critical thinking and strong opinions are crucial sometimes. But our approach encourages these elements to be channeled into intelligent discussions. By cutting through the noise, we aspire to elevate our users’ intellect, making the platform a space for informed and insightful conversations.
PRNEWS.IO: Looking ahead, what exciting plans do you have for Critix’s growth? Any hints about upcoming features or expansions you can share with us?
Petter: Well, we only launched on the App Store and Google Play in late September, and now we’re hungry for more users to dive into discussions. Getting that momentum will be key to figuring out how to finesse the app. But we have some features in the pipeline already. You will soon be able to follow other profiles and recommend articles to your own followers. We have our own ways to do it while preventing filter bubbles, but I won’t let you in on too many details yet.
Incorporating multiple language mediums is also a thing we would like to do. But let’s see when that happens.
PRNEWS.IO: Since we’re all about promotion and PR, we’re curious about your strategies! How do you plan to promote Critix? Any exciting PR plans you can tell us about?
Petter: Great question. We made a classic Finnish move, going all-in on product development and sidelining marketing. “Learning by doing” is something we do a lot, but now we’re bringing more structure to our marketing and PR game. It’s a tough nut to crack, but one thing I’m good at is finding competitive people around me and believing in their competence. I took a bit of a gamble with Stefan and Ron, the brilliant developers behind our tech, and I’m very happy with the outcome. I have the same belief in the people working with me on the marketing side. Nothing comes easy. but with a killer product and smart PR marketing in various fields, I believe it will spread to our target audience. It’s just a matter of time.
- Petter Larsen
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