Meta Platforms Inc. is exploring plans to launch a new social media app in its bid to displace Twitter as the world’s “digital town square”, Reuters reported.
“We’re exploring a standalone decentralized social network for sharing text updates. We believe there’s an opportunity for a separate space where creators and public figures can share timely updates about their interests,” a Meta spokesperson told Reuters in an emailed statement.
According to Reuters, Meta’s app will be based on a similar framework that powers Mastodon, a Twitter-like service that was launched in 2016. A Twitter-like app would allow Meta to take advantage of the current chaos at the Elon Musk-led company, where cost-cutting has been rampant.
Twitter has been struggling to hold on to its advertising base since Musk’s takeover of the platform last year. Companies have pulled back spending following Twitter’s move to restore suspended accounts and release a paid account verification that resulted in scammers impersonating firms.
TechCrunch wrote: If there is a social media phenomenon getting some kind of popularity, Meta will try to jump in. We have seen the company copy different kinds of formats ranging from Stories to short videos after seeing the success of other platforms. Now, the Mark Zuckerberg-led company is working on a decentralized text-based app.
Meta confirmed this development in a statement, but didn’t give out details about when it plans to release the app.
This new decentralized app, codenamed P92, is still under development – as first reported by MoneyControl According to documents seen by the publication, the app will let users log-in through their Instagram credentials. This could irk people who might not want to share that data with another Meta app.
According to TechCrunch, a report by Platformer said that the project will be overseen by Instagram head Adam Mosseri. The company is already involving the legal department to sniff out early privacy concerns before the app is public, the report added.
Engadget reported that P92 will carry Instagram’s branding and will let users register and log in using their Instagram credentials, according to the sources. It will populate users’ profile with their Instagram account details if they use their login on the photo-sharing app. But based on the product brief MoneyControl saw, “data sharing from Instagram to P92 will be minimal, if not one” after the initial sign up.
According to Engadget, a source told MoneyControl that the app will allow users to broadcast their posts to those on other servers, but it remains to be seen whether they will be able to follow each other, as well. If the app supports ActivityPub, though, people will likely expect it to be somewhat interoperable with Mastodon and other decentralized apps that use the protocol.
Personally, I believe that if you want something Twitter-like, you could easily join a Mastodon server that matches your interests. Most are run by a small handful of moderators who – unlike Twitter – actually do make changes in order to keep the people on their server safe from harm. I strongly prefer my Mastodon instance over the mess that Twitter has become.