Facebook’s parent company, Meta, is considering a decentralized, text-based social media platform comparable to Twitter after some users, many of whom are Left-leaning, are seeking alternatives due to the company’s acquisition by Elon Musk.
The initiative, codenamed P92, could be accessed by Facebook and Instagram users with their existing credentials. Adam Mosseri, who oversees Instagram, is leading the project.
“We’re exploring a standalone decentralized social network for sharing text updates,” Meta said in a statement provided to The Platformer. “We believe there’s an opportunity for a separate space where creators and public figures can share timely updates about their interests.”
The revelation comes weeks after Instagram introduced a notes feature through which users can create short posts using text and characters.
The new social media site would be centered upon verification badges, followers and likes, posts with previews, and other features similar to those currently offered by Twitter, according to a report from MoneyControl, which first broke the news of the initiative. “The team is also discussing whether to have the ability to reshare content like Twitter apart from business and creator accounts,” one source told the outlet. “A rights manager will be integrated from the beginning for first party content, but probably not for third party content from other apps and servers.”
Meta revealed the plans for the new platform as disillusioned Twitter users seek alternatives. A handful have created accounts on Mastodon, which features a number of independently run nodes with their own codes of conduct, privacy policies, and content moderation standards.
Some 37% of Americans approve of the way Musk is operating Twitter, while 37% disapprove and 25% did not offer an opinion, according to a survey from Quinnipiac University released in December. Roughly 55% of respondents disapproved of the manner in which the world’s richest man handles purported misinformation.
Musk previously told advertisers that he acquired Twitter to “have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence.” He has meanwhile expressed a desire to refrain from promoting what he deems to be radical Left-wing and Right-wing content on the site and vowed that the social media platform would not become a “free-for-all hellscape” where users could breach the law with impunity or splinter into “echo chambers.”
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Amendments to the company’s former content moderation policies have been especially unpopular among left-of-center users. Net favorability for Tesla, the electric automaker led by Musk, decreased 20.3% among Democrats between October and November 2022, the time frame of the acquisition, according to a survey from Morning Consult. Net favorability among Republicans increased 3.9% over the same period.
Though a number of conservative accounts have been restored to the platform since Musk assumed control, including those belonging to DailyWire+ host Jordan Peterson and Christian satire site The Babylon Bee, some censorious actions appear to have continued. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) were each suspended from Twitter in recent weeks; the former changed his profile picture to an image from a hunting trip, while the latter was incorrectly flagged as an impersonator.