Meta, formerly Facebook, is soon entering the microblogging business with an app of its own. After longstanding leader Twitter has had a deep crisis in the last few months following its acquisition by billionaire Elon Musk, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp is looking to grab a slice of the cake that has been left partially unattended.
According to TechCrunch, the new app will be released this coming summer, and it will be partly integrated with Instagram, from which users will be able to use the same login credentials and automatically invite their followers.
Much like Twitter, Meta’s app will be a text-based platform for users to share brief thoughts, read news, and follow their preferred public personalities’ last updates. Unlike Twitter, it will be decentralized, using ActivityPub protocols to make it open and interoperable with other social networks.
With Meta in the Arena, the microblogging sector of social media is promising to become more competitive than ever before, as Meta has been already pitching the platform-to-be to high-profile creators and celebrities to join, TechCrunch reported.
What Do We Know So Far?
We know that Meta has already officially confirmed its existence: “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.
Other than that, little official information has come from Meta themselves. Money Control revealed that the project’s codename is P92, or “Barcelona,” but it is not known whether the app is already under development or not. It is expected, nevertheless, that privacy policies, user agreements, and community guides will be transferred from Instagram to the new platform.
However, Lia Haberman told in her marketing newsletter ICYMI that the app could be released as early as the end of June. After interviewing a creator who has been in talks with Meta, Haberman reported that, aside from using Instagram credentials, and transferring followers and verification status, the new app will have a 500-character limit and allow the inclusion of links, photos, and videos up to 5 minutes long.
So far, it looks very much similar to Twitter but decentralized, with the added Meta flavor of an ecosystem of billions of users, with which they hope to massively attract creators, users, and potential advertisement revenue.
The Next Twitter?
Ever since its release in 2006, Twitter has been the undisputed king of the microblogging sector of social media, famously favored even by high-profile politicians and government officials. By 2020, Twitter had almost 50 million accounts registered, including 15% fake ones.
After the company was bought for $44 million by billionaire Elon Musk in October 2022, a series of changes were introduced to the platform that made users and advertisers alike massively leave Twitter, with almost half of its 1.000 top advertisers before the acquisition having stopped advertising by February 2023.
This means there is a market gap to be capitalized that has already been partially taken by smaller competitors like Mastodon, and by other types of community, text-based social media platforms such as Reddit and Discord. Now Meta will attempt to take that opportunity as well.
In the end, the space that Twitter has built on the internet is not only about member numbers and advertisement revenue, but also about control and moderation of a newly formed public sphere that shapes social and political conversations worldwide. For good or ill, Meta may soon become a major player in that sphere.
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