Meta is working on a decentralized social app

Image credit: TechCrunch

If there is a social media phenomenon that gains some kind of popularity, Meta will try to jump in. We’ve seen the company replicate different kinds 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 did not provide details on when they plan to release the app.

“We are exploring a self-contained 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.

This new decentralized app, codenamed P92, is still in development – as first reported by MoneyControl. According to the documents seen by the publication, the app will let users log in via their Instagram credentials. This may annoy people who may not want to share this data with another Meta app.

A report from Platformer said the project will be overseen by Instagram boss Adam Mosseri. The company is already involving the legal department to sniff out early privacy concerns before the app is public, the report added.

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

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

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 adopted the Matrix protocol.

But 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 the applications that are built on top of the protocols. Having said that, I am confident that interoperability between ActivityPub and Bluesky will not be difficult .The only thing preventing, for example, interoperability between Twitter and Facebook’s timeline has been protectionist policies by those companies,” he noted.

It’s important to remember that Meta has tried to create new apps and experiences that haven’t always caught on. In the past few years, it has killed off experiments like anonymous teen app tbh, Cameo-like app Super, Nextdoor clone Neighborhoods, couples app Tuned, student-focused social network Campus, video speed dating service Sparked, and TikTok clone Lasso just to name a few. So it won’t be surprising if the new decentralized experience shuts down in a few years after launch.

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