Meta develops decentralized social app to compete with Twitter


Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, is working on a decentralized text-based content and social app similar to Twitter. The release date is still unclear.

The stand-alone project, codenamed P92, will support ActivityPub – a federated social networking protocol where Mastodon and other decentralized apps are based. Mastodon is a decentralized social media platform that gives Twitter a run for its money.

Meta spokesperson said the company had identified an opportunity within the industry for a distinguished space for public figures and creators to share on-time updates of their interests.

The P92 app will be Instagram-branded. Instagram head Adam Mosseri is leading the project. The project intends to use data from all Instagram users regardless of whether or not they use the P92 app.

P92 intends to exploit the MVP through the ‘fork’ approach, where users must log in with their Instagram credentials. The P92 users will be prompted to agree to the terms when signing up for the platform. However, Meta said they involve the legal department to investigate privacy concerns before the project is rolled out to the public.

An attempt to capitalize on users escaping Twitter

Meta’s innovation comes at a period where technology companies are capitalizing on the growing trend of Twitter users migrating to other platforms. Twitter is struggling to keep up with the increased industry chaos since Elon Musk took over as the new owner.

Several rival companies, such as, Damus, Mastodom, and T2 have mushroomed and gained noticeable traction a couple of months after Musk took over Twitter. The new platforms are part of the Fediverse – a decentralized servers network – supporting the ActivityPub protocol.

The P92 project intends to support ActivityPub, making connections to other platforms on the Fediverse easier.

Several other decentralized projects have supported ActivityHub, including Flipboard, Tumblr, and Flickr. Other Fediverse protocols support decentralization, including the Matrix protocol and Bluesky.

Twitter has remained unfazed by the development of competing protocols and instead viewed the competition as a good thing.

Blaine Cook, a former Twitter engineer, said that diversity in protocol and social platforms is essential in the industry. He firmly believes that interoperability between Bluesky and ActivityPub is easy, and the only thing hindering interoperability between Facebook and Twitter’s timelines is the company’s protectionist policies.

Meta has tried to adopt almost every new social media phenomenon, and P92 is not its first time exploring new ventures in the industry.

In December 2022, Instagram introduced Notes, a new feature that users could post up to 60 characters using text and emojis. Meta has been fiddling with tuning Notes into a Twitter competitor. 

An industry expert said the long-term plan is a minimum viable product (MVP) allowing users to broadcast posts across different servers.

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