Facebook Meta owner plans to create a competitor to Twitter

Facebook Meta owner plans to create a competitor to Twitter
  • Written by Tom Gerken and Zoe Kleinman
  • BBC News

image source, Getty Images

Meta has shown employees plans for a text-based social network designed to compete with Twitter, sources have told the BBC.

It can allow users to follow accounts they already follow on Instagram, the photo-sharing Meta app.

It could allow them to get followers from decentralized platforms like Mastodon.

A Meta spokesperson confirmed to the BBC that the platform is in development.

“We are exploring a stand-alone decentralized social network for sharing text updates,” they said.

“We believe there is an opportunity for a separate space where content creators and public figures can share timely updates about their interests.”

Meta’s chief product officer, Chris Cox, said programming is underway on the platform. The tech giant is aiming to launch it soon, though no date has been set. There is some speculation that it could be closer to the end of June.

Screenshots of it being shown internally to employees have surfaced online, which may give an idea of ​​what the app will look like.

Sources within the company have told the BBC that the leaked screenshots are real. If so, the layout of this new platform will be familiar to anyone who has spent time on Twitter.

The text-based network — dubbed P92 — could turn out to be a bigger competitor to Elon Musk’s Twitter than BlueSky or Mastodon.

While both have attracted users disillusioned with Twitter, starting over in a new social network and rebuilding a community is difficult.

But the Instagram community is massive. Meta says it has about 2 billion users, which dwarfs the 300 million users thought to use Twitter — though its numbers can no longer be verified.

If even 25% of Instagram users can be persuaded to use the P92 (it will no doubt have a sexier name when it launches), it will instantly become an older rival.

Meta says it takes “inspiration” from other products, though others describe it less nicely — Stories on Facebook were built on Snapchat’s feature, Reels on Instagram unmistakably resemble TikTok.

Under Mr. Musk, moderation in Twitter has reportedly been curtailed — which critics say has allowed the spread of misinformation to increase.

But Musk says there has now been “less, not more, misinformation” since taking office in October 2022.

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