Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, is working on a new social media app that could challenge Twitter’s dominance as the world’s “digital town square”. The app, reportedly codenamed P92, will be a decentralized, text-based platform that will allow users to share timely updates about their interests.
According to Platformer, a tech newsletter that first broke the news, P92 will be built as a stand-alone app, but users will be able to log in using their Instagram credentials. The app will also leverage existing Instagram data, such as names, profile photos and followers, to create a seamless experience for users.
Zuck’s Mastodon Clone
P92 will be compatible with ActivityPub, an open protocol that powers Mastodon, a Twitter-like service
that was launched in 2016. ActivityPub enables users to join or create separate servers, or “instances”, that host different communities and topics. Users can also “broadcast posts to people on other servers”, according to Moneycontrol, an Indian business news outlet that confirmed the report.
The app’s feature set is expected to be very similar to Twitter at launch, except for commenting on posts and messages, which will be added later. Meta believes that there is an opportunity for a separate space where creators and public figures can share updates with their fans and followers.
Challenge to Twitter
The move comes at a time when Twitter is facing multiple challenges, such as technical glitches, content moderation disputes and user backlash over policy changes. Twitter has also been struggling to retain its advertising base since Elon Musk’s takeover of the platform late last year. Musk has laid off more than 75% of the company’s staff, including key engineers, and has introduced controversial features such as paid account verification and suspended account restoration.
Meta’s new app aims to take advantage of the current disruption at Twitter and attract users who are looking for alternatives. Meta’s social media apps have a combined user base of 3.74 billion, compared to Twitter’s 330 million. Meta’s app could also benefit from its huge investments in the metaverse, a virtual world where users can interact and work.
It is not clear when Meta will roll out P92 to the public. The company told Platformer that it is “exploring” the project and that it is “still very early”. Meta is known for acquiring rather than innovating social media platforms, such as Instagram and WhatsApp. However, with P92, Meta could potentially disrupt the social media landscape and challenge Twitter’s role as the global platform for public discourse.