Meta is working on a decentralized social app

Photo credit: TechCrunch

If there’s a social media phenomenon that’s gaining popularity, Meta will try to step in. We’ve seen the company copy different types of formats, 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 gave no details on when the app is scheduled to be released.

“We are investigating a standalone decentralized social network for sharing text updates. We believe there is an opportunity for a separate space where creators and public figures can share timely updates about their interests,” said a Meta spokesperson.

Codenamed P92, this new decentralized app is still under development as first reported by MoneyControl. According to documents viewed by the publication, the app allows users to log in using their Instagram credentials. This might annoy people who might not want to share this data with another meta app.

According to a report by Platformer, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri is overseeing the project. The company is already involving the legal department to detect early privacy concerns before releasing the app, the report added.

Meta’s move is seen as an attempt to build a Twitter alternative or Mastodon competitor. The latter gained popularity after Elon Musk took over Twitter. The decentralized network is part of the Fediverse – a network of decentralized servers – that supports the ActivityPub protocol. According to MoneyControl, Meta’s new app also plans to support ActivityPub, making it easier to connect to other instances like Mastodon.

There are many other tools that have implemented (or plan to implement) ActivityPub support, including Tumblr, Flipboard, and Flickr.

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But decentralization is not limited to this protocol. Jack Dorsey-backed Bluesky launched its iOS app in beta last week. And messaging apps like have embraced 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. However, I firmly believe that interoperability between ActivityPub and Bluesky will not be difficult. The only thing that prevented interoperability between Twitter and Facebook’s timeline, for example, was the protectionist policies of these companies,” he noted.

It’s important to remember that Meta has attempted to create new apps and experiences that have not always been successful. In recent years it has seen experiments such as anonymous teens app tbh, cameo-like app Super, Nextdoor clone Neighborhoods, couples app Tuned, student-focused social network Campus, video speed-dating service Sparked and the TikTok clone lasso just killed name a few. So it won’t be a surprise if the new decentralized experience is retired a few years after launch.