Meta Is Working On A Decentralized Twitter Alternative Reportedly Codenamed P92


Meta on Friday said it is working on a new social media platform for sharing “text updates” reportedly designed to compete directly with Twitter, which has been hit by various operational issues and controversies since its takeover by billionaire Elon Musk.

Key Facts

Indian business news outlet Moneycontrol first reported the development, noting that Meta’s Twitter competitor will be an offshoot of Instagram that can be accessed using the same login credentials.

The development was confirmed by Platformer, who received a statement from the Facebook parent saying the company was “exploring a standalone decentralized social network for sharing text updates”.

The app, reportedly codenamed P92, will be compatible with ActivityPub—the decentralized protocol used by the open-source Twitter alternative, Mastodon.

Being a decentralized platform means P92’s users will be able to join or create separate servers although it will include a feature that allows people to “broadcast posts to people on other servers,” the Moneycontrol report added, citing an unnamed source.

P92’s feature set is expected to be very similar to Twitter at launch, except for commenting on posts and messages, which will reportedly be added later.

The report suggests P92 will leverage existing Instagram data—like names, profile photos, followers, etc.—both for users who sign up for the decentralized platform and those who don’t.

Crucial Quote

In its statement, Meta said: “We believe there’s an opportunity for a separate space where creators and public figures can share timely updates about their interests.”

Key Background

News of Meta’s new app comes at a time when Twitter is battling a growing number of technical issues that have caused multiple outages and glitches. The platform has also been at the center of multiple controversies over various issues like content moderation and unpopular policy changes since its take over last year by Elon Musk. The most recent Twitter breakdown happened earlier this week when a backend change implemented by a single engineer made the website unusable for most of its users. A week earlier, Twitter was hit by an outage that prevented users from accessing their timelines. These issues have reportedly been compounded by Musk’s decision to lay off more than 75% of the company’s staffers—including key engineers—since his takeover. These issues have prompted some users to seek alternatives to Twitter like Mastodon and—although some of these platforms are now seeing a decline in users after an initial bump. At its peak Mastodon grew to around 2.5 million users, only around 1% of Twitter’s total user base. In comparison, Instagram boasts a monthly active user count of 2 billion—which is eight times the size of Twitter. Combining Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp, Meta’s social media apps have a total worldwide userbase of 3.74 billion.

Further Reading

Meta mulls a Twitter competitor codenamed ‘P92’ that will be interoperable with Mastodon (Moneycontrol)

Meta is building a decentralized, text-based social network (Platformer)