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Meta confirms Twitter’s decentralized competitor is in the works


Facebook’s parent company went back to the drawing board after its Metaverse failed to garner public interest

Facebook’s parent company Meta is building a text-based decentralized social networking platform, the company confirmed Thursday in an email to technology outlet Platformer. Dubbed P92, the app suggests a radical diversion from the company’s Metaverse project.

“We are exploring an autonomous decentralized social network to share text updates,” a Meta spokesperson told Platformer, describing the project as “a separate space where creators and public figures can share timely updates on their interests.”

P92 will run on the ActivityPub protocol used by Mastodon, Twitter’s competitor hailed by tech influencers and celebrities unhappy with changes made to that platform by new CEO Elon Musk. In addition to allowing users to broadcast messages to people on other servers, as Mastodon does, P92 can also allow users to follow and view content on other servers, an insider told the Moneycontrol financial blog.

Other likely features include links to content previews, usernames and bios, verification badges, shareable images and videos, followers and likes – all familiar to users of Twitter and its different clones, as well as Mastodon. Comments and messaging may not be available in the first version of the product, but will be added eventually, the source said.

Users will login with their Instagram credentials and P92 will use all data from Instagram “for analysis, product improvement and ranking purposes”, including that of users who have not signed up for the new network, sources told Moneycontrol.

Decentralized platforms are touted by some – including Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, whose own decentralized competitor Bluesky launched in beta last week – for their supposed resistance to censorship, as groups operating on different servers could theoretically adopt different moderation policies. While the new network will use Instagram’s privacy policy, it’s unclear whether it will also use that platform’s restrictive content policies.

The text-based P92 is a significant departure from Meta’s namesake Metaverse project. Some of the virtual metaverse “worlds”, unveiled in 2021, reportedly only saw daily active users in the double digits. Facebook and Instagram have been haemorrhaging young users on platforms such as TikTok for years.

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