While the future remains uncertain for Twitter, Meta is throwing its hat into the ring to build the next major microblogging platform. This new Meta app is expected to launch this summer, according to an email shared with a select group of creators, and viewed by TechCrunch.
This text-based app will stand alone, but it will be partially integrated within Instagram. Users will keep their Instagram verification and handle, and all of their followers will receive a notification to go follow them on the to-be-named platform. Meta’s text-based platform will be decentralized and interoperable with Mastodon, which is built on the ActivityPub protocol.
Meta wants to onboard high-profile public figures to get early access, like athletes, actors, producers, showrunners and comedians. In its note to these creators, Meta conceded that Mastodon, Bluesky and other apps have had a head start in the race to build the next Twitter. But the company pointed out that it has the advantage of access to billions of users through its family of apps, which includes Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and Messenger.
Based on a (somewhat blurry) example I got, Meta’s new app looks a lot like Twitter.
So, could this take over all the Twitter screenshots we’ve been seeing on the Feed lately? Maybe.
It’s impossible to predict how audiences will respond but this could be an alternative. pic.twitter.com/xgQa1kUjCl
— Lia Haberman (@liahaberman) May 19, 2023
This new decentralized app is codenamed P92 or Barcelona, as first reported by MoneyControl. Meta has been quiet about these developments, but said in a statement to Money Control: “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.”
According to Lia Haberman, author of social media newsletter ICYMI, the app will use the same community guidelines as Instagram. Similarly, users will be able to log-in with their Instagram credentials, blocks and hidden words from Instagram will carry over, and some safety features will be embedded at the get-go, like two-factor authentication and spam reporting. Haberman’s sources also informed her that text posts will be up to 500 characters, and users can also upload photos, links and videos up to five minutes long. Like Twitter and other competitor apps, there will be a feed where you can like, reply or repost content.
Social media consultant Matt Navarra received this same information, which he had shared in a tweet posted earlier this month.
🔥 NEW DETAILS: Meta’s NEW text based app to rival Twitter launching summer 2023
While it will exist as its own separate app, it will be integrated with Instagram.
Users will keep their same Instagram handle, verification will roll over, and their Instagram followers will…
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) May 12, 2023
Meta declined TechCrunch’s request for further comment, but did not dispute the accuracy of the leaked information.
The market is ripe for new Twitter alternatives, though after migrating to a multitude of platforms, some users might be a bit fatigued by the prospect of setting up yet another new account. Like any company, when Meta releases new apps and experiences, they don’t always take off. In the past few years, it has sunsetted products like the anonymous teen app tbh, Cameo-like app Super, Nextdoor clone Neighborhoods, couples app Tuned, student-focused social network Campus, video dating service Sparked and more.