Facebook-parent Meta is exploring building a new, standalone platform for sharing text updates, the company confirmed to CNN on Friday, in what could mark the most high-profile new contender to take on Twitter as it falters under Elon Musk.
“We believe there’s an opportunity for a separate space where creators and public figures can share timely updates about their interests,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement to CNN, which essentially described Twitter’s mission statement without naming the platform.
The platform, plans for which were earlier reported by Platformer and MoneyControl, would be decentralized, meaning users could ostensibly create different servers or communities, each with their own rules rather than one central platform controlled by Meta. The concept is similar to Reddit or Discord, but a departure from how Meta’s other platforms function.
If Meta’s new platform were decentralized, it could allow third parties to build apps and features into the platform, potentially giving users experiences beyond what Meta itself might build.
The effort, codenamed P92, is in its early stages and is being led by Instagram head Adam Mosseri, according to Platformer.
Meta declined to comment beyond its statement, including in response to questions about the new platform’s potential features or a timeline for launch.
A number of upstart platforms have in recent months attempted to capitalize as Twitter struggles with frequent outages, the return of controversial users and a drop-off in advertisers. Many of them had an early jump in users following Musk’s takeover at Twitter, but have since struggled to gain widespread adoption.
Mastodon, a decentralized social network that was launched in 2016, grew its user base from 300,000 users to more than 2.5 million in the weeks after Musk completed his acquisition of Twitter in late October. But its growth has slowed in recent months, in part as users struggle with the somewhat less straightforward and user-friendly nature of a decentralized platform.
A new service from Meta, however, could benefit from the existing, large user base of the company’s other platforms, including the two billion people who use Facebook daily.
Plans for a new platform come as Meta is also shifting the strategy for its older platforms, emphasizing video and recommended content in an effort to better compete with TikTok. Earlier this week, Facebook head Tom Alison told CNN that the app is testing reincorporating messaging so that users don’t have to go to a separate app to share content they find on Facebook.