Facebook owner Meta is working on a new “text-sharing” social media network, it said Friday, in a project seen as a potential rival to the embattled Twitter.
Since billionaire Elon Musk acquired Twitter in October, the platform has suffered outages and layoffs and seen advertisers flee over a lack of content moderation.
So far, however, no major alternative to Twitter has emerged, leaving world leaders, politicians, celebrities and businesses with no choice but to continue communicating through the platform.
Following reports on India’s Platformer and Moneycontrol news sites, Meta confirmed on Friday that it was starting work on the new platform.
“We’re exploring a standalone, decentralized social network for sharing text updates,” Meta, which also owns Instagram, said in a brief email statement.
“We believe there is an opportunity for a separate space where creators and public figures can share timely updates on their interests,” the statement added.
The media reports said that Meta’s new app would use technology that would allow it to be interoperable with niche network Mastodon and other platforms – allowing users to post to people on other networks.
This would be a clear break with the usual practice of tech giants, where platforms like Instagram or YouTube are kept behind technological walls and run under strict rules with corporate servers.
Mastodon is run by decentralized computer servers without any central administration or authority in charge.
– Twitter vulnerable? –
In December, Musk briefly banned Twitter accounts that contained links to other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Mastodon.
Moneycontrol reported that Meta’s new venture was being tested with features like tapable links, user bios, verification badges, and shareable images and videos.
In its latest glitch, Twitter suffered a brief but unprecedented outage Monday, with users worldwide reporting being unable to read links to articles from external sites.
The company’s tech support account blamed “unintended consequences” of an update to the platform for the issue.
After several rounds of layoffs that have seen more than two-thirds of its employees laid off, Twitter is running on a skeletal staff that is said to leave it vulnerable to backoffs as well as disinformation and harmful content.
As many advertisers pulled out, the network saw revenue and adjusted profit fall about 40 percent year over year in December, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday, citing people close to the company.
Musk has tried weaning Twitter from ads and promoting subscriptions as a new way to make money — an idea Meta is also testing — but so far the results have been disappointing.