Meta plans a Twitter alternative similar to Mastodon. The social networking behemoth is apparently working on an app codenamed P92 that would allow users to make text-based updates and will use Mastodon’s social networking protocol called ActivityPub. Meta revealed that the company is working on a decentralized social network and told the media.
“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 the sources, P92 will be branded with Instagram and would allow users to register and log in using their Instagram credentials. It will populate users’ profiles with their Instagram account credentials if they use their Instagram login on the photo-sharing app. But, according to the product brief, “data sharing from Instagram to P92 will be minimal, if not none” after the initial sign-up.
As the software is decentralized, users can set up their own servers and create their own content moderation rules. The program will allow people to broadcast their postings to others on other servers, but it is unclear whether or not they’ll be able to follow one other as well. If the app supports ActivityPub, users would likely expect it to be relatively compatible with Mastodon and other decentralized apps that use the protocol.
The ActivityPub protocol is a decentralized social networking protocol that uses the [ActivityStreams] 2.0 data format. It includes a client-to-server API for generating, updating, and removing content, as well as a federated server-to-server API for providing notifications and content.
The app’s initial version will contain features such as tappable links in posts with previews, user bio, username, verification badges, and shareable photographs and videos. It will also contain features like followers and likes, although it is unclear whether commenting and messaging will be included in the first edition of the application.
As Twitter struggles with regular outages, the return of contentious users, and a reduction in advertising, a number of new platforms have attempted to capitalize in recent months. Many of them saw an increase in users after Musk took over Twitter, yet they’ve since struggled to garner mainstream adoption. Now, Zuckerberg-led Meta is in the early stages of building a dedicated app for people to post text-based updates.
Creating a decentralised network may also allow Meta’s new app to interact with other social goods, an unprecedented move from a business known for constructing some of the most lucrative walled gardens in the industry’s history. The move comes as Silicon Valley as a whole is reconsidering the merits of driving people into centralised services.