A TIKTOK BAN SEEMS IMMINENT, BUT THE COMPANY DOESN’T SEEM THE LEAST BIT WORRIED. | IMAGE: UNSPLASH
While Musk has admitted that it’s not possible to fix every issue with Twitter overnight, the supposed downfall of the company has led social media giants to build suitable replacements for the platform. And now, the biggest player of them all is throwing its chips in at a more open “virtual town square.”
According to a report from MoneyControl, Meta (previously Facebook) is developing a decentralized social network rivaling Twitter and its open-source counterparts such as Mastodon. “We’re exploring a standalone decentralized social network for sharing text updates. We believe there’s an opportunity for a separate space where creators and public figures can share timely updates about their interests” shared a Meta spokesperson with MoneyControl.
This development seems like an obvious consequence of Musk’s acquisition of Twitter and the eventual debacle that the company is currently experiencing — with the platform going down for hours now.
While details regarding the project remain sparse, we do know that the platform, codenamed P92, is already in the early stages of development, and will be bearing the Instagram brand.
It was the suspension of Trump’s Twitter account that perhaps fed the fire, leading several people to outrage and demand a decentralized version of the microblogging site — something that Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey himself showed interest in.
While the ex-CEO has already released a beta of the decentralized alternative to Twitter, called Bluesky, experts are already worried about how profitable such a business would be.
Maybe it’s the lack of a clear business model or simply the fact that most people aren’t willing to pay to share their opinion on the internet, but it’s money that’s fueling these companies at the end of the day.
Musk has been pushing for a better ad model for the network to put a halt to the faltering revenues, which shows just how much of a struggle it would be running a decentralized version of Twitter.
But if there’s one company that has cracked down the advertising business to a T, it’s probably Meta.
The Meta-owned Facebook already benefits from an immensely large user base, which coupled with their data collection efforts makes for an advertising business that has been under the eye of regulators for some time.
The report suggests that the app will allow for cross-app data sharing and that the P92 team wants to use the data of Instagram users regardless of them signing up for the app “as freely as possible for purposes of analytics, product improvement, and ranking on P92.”
This certainly puts the company under the radar once again, considering they’ve already had their fair share of scrutiny, ranging from their control over user data and even reportedly using said data to influence elections while little in fact-checking and moderation on the content floating across the platform.
It remains unclear whether decisions around content moderation and data privacy should be under the eyes of a scant group of individuals in Silicon Valley. With Meta’s reputation in regard to the utilization of user data, most people would be skeptical of a decentralized social network carrying their brand.