Picture credits: Tech Crunch
If there is a social media phenomenon that is gaining popularity, Meta will try to launch. We have seen the company copy different types of formats ranging from stories to short videos after seeing the success of other platforms. Now the Mark Zuckerberg-led company is working on a decentralized text-based app.
Meta confirmed this development in a statement but did not provide details on when it plans to release the app.
“We are exploring an autonomous decentralized social network to share text updates. We believe there is an opportunity for a separate space where creators and public figures can share timely updates on their interests,” a Meta spokesperson said.
This new decentralized app, codenamed P92, is still under development, as MoneyControl first reported. According to documents seen by the publication, the app will allow users to log in through their Instagram credentials. This might irritate people who might not want to share this data with another Meta app.
A report from Platformer says the project will be overseen by Instagram head Adam Mosseri. The company is already involving the legal department to detect early privacy issues before the app goes public, the report adds.
Meta’s move is seen as its attempt to create an alternative to Twitter or a competitor to Mastodon. The latter gained popularity after Elon Musk took over Twitter. The decentralized network is part of the Fediverse – a network of decentralized servers – which supports the ActivityPub protocol. Meta’s new app also plans to support ActivityPub, making it easier to connect with other instances like Mastodon, according to MoneyControl.
Many other tools have implemented (or plan to implement) support for ActivityPub, including Tumblr, Flipboard, and Flickr.
But decentralization is not limited to this protocol. Bluesky, backed by Jack Dorsey, launched its iOS app in beta last week. And messaging apps like Rocket.chat have adopted the Matrix protocol.
However, former Twitter engineer Blaine Cook told TechCrunch last year that the existence of competing protocols is a good thing.
“I think the diversity of protocols is important, as is the diversity of applications built on top of the protocols. That said, I firmly believe that interoperability between ActivityPub and Bluesky will not be difficult. The only thing preventing, for example, interoperability between Twitter and Facebook’s timeline is the protectionist policies of these companies,” he noted.
It’s important to remember that Meta tried to create new apps and experiences that didn’t always take off. Over the past few years, it has killed experiments such as anonymous teen app tbh, Cameo-like app Super, Nextdoor clone Neighborhoods, couples app Tuned, student-focused social network Campus, the Sparked video speed dating service and the TikTok Lasso clone just to name a few. So it won’t be surprising if the new decentralized experience comes to a halt a few years after launch.