Meta’s Twitter clone app appears to be getting closer to launch, with Meta executive Chris Cox sharing more information about the new offering at a Meta all-hands staff meeting earlier today.
As reported by The Verge, Meta’s text-based feed app, currently called ‘P92’ (or ‘Barcelona’ in some other iterations that have been leaked) will be a straight feed of text updates, though users will also be able to add photos and videos to their messages.
The main feed itself looks like a DM thread, with replies that expand out beneath the main message, along with small bubble profile icons at the side, representing which users have replied to each.
There looks to be four tabs in the app, including a main feed, explore, favorites, and your profile, with the middle button being a composer window to add your own post.
These latest screenshots look slightly different to the ones that Meta shared with creators recently, but it may just be varying presentation based on OS.
Cox specifically described the app as a ‘response to Twitter’, while also criticizing Elon Musk’s disruptive reign at the app.
“We’ve been hearing from creators and public figures who are interested in having a platform that is sanely run, that they believe that they can trust and rely upon for distribution.”
According to The Verge, the app may actually end up being called ‘Threads’ when it’s finally released – though Instagram did already use that name for another failed spin-off app that it launched back in 2019, and was shut down less than two years later. That doesn’t mean that they can’t use it again, but it seems potentially cursed to resurrect a failed project name in a new form.
Maybe Meta’s not overly superstitious.
Along with today’s insights, what we already know about the coming app is:
- P92 will use your Instagram credentials to log in
- It will also use your Instagram ID as your username in the new app
- The maximum length for P92 posts will reportedly be 500 characters
- The app will be decentralized, though it’s not entirely clear what that means in a Meta context as yet
On the last point, The Verge has also reported that the app will integrate with the decentralized protocol ActivityPub, which could enable users to transfer their information, including their audience info, to other apps that support the same. Mastodon is another app that supports ActivityPub integration.
According to Cox, Instagram’s reps are already in talks with various celebrities to help boost awareness and usage of the app, including Oprah and the Dalai Lama. Not sure that they’ll be as cool as Mr Beast or the like, with YouTubers holding significantly more influence among younger audiences. But maybe this is reflective of Meta’s audience focus here – maybe, Meta’s not trying to reach younger demographics, but older users instead, who may be drifting away from Twitter over time.
Indeed, according to Pew Research, the median age of adult US Twitter users is 40, with a higher educational baseline than other apps, and this is more likely the key target of Meta’s new push, in trying to win over these users with some big names who’ll post exclusively to its new app.
Get enough of them, and that could see the project take off, and right now, as many question the direction that Twitter’s taking under Musk, could be the best time to offer these influential users a new home for their real-time updates.
It looks like it’ll provide a similar user experience to Twitter, and it’ll be simple to log in and use, which has been a key criticism of Mastodon. The app will also benefit from Meta’s broader reach and promotion potential, by being linked back to IG, which has around four times the audience reach than what Twitter currently sees.
It’s too early to have an informed opinion on whether it will work, but it does seem to tick a lot of the boxes, and it could end up being the Twitter alternative that many have been seeking.
We’ll keep you updated on any progress.