Meta Platforms Inc (META.O) is exploring plans to launch a new social media app in its bid to displace Twitter as the world’s “digital town square”.
“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,” a Meta spokesperson told Reuters in an emailed statement.
Meta’s app will be based on a similar framework that powers Mastodon, a Twitter-like service that was launched in 2016.
A Twitter-like app would allow Meta to take advantage of the current chaos at the Elon Musk-led company, where cost-cutting has been rampant.
Twitter has been struggling to hold on to its advertising base since Musk’s takeover of the platform late last year. Companies have pulled back spending following Twitter’s move to restore suspended accounts and release a paid account verification that resulted in scammers impersonating firms.Meta’s plans come at a time when its biggest platform, Facebook, is struggling to attract the attention of a younger audience, while its huge investments in the metaverse, a virtual world where users interact and work, show little signs of paying off, at least in the near term.Its video-sharing app, Instagram, is also facing stiff competition as content makers or hit influencers abandon the platform for TikTok.
It was not immediately clear when Meta would roll out the new app.
“The history of Meta is that they are much better acquirers than they are innovators or developers … as far as copying Twitter, this is just a defensive move,” said Thomas Hayes, chairman and managing member of New York-based Great Hill Capital.
“They’re just trying everything… at least with a mini blogging site like Twitter, there’s some expectation that it could start to make money out of much quicker timeline than the metaverse investment.”
Meta’s investments in the metaverse will not drive revenue growth until 2030, analysts have said.
Meta shares were marginally higher at $181.7 in early trade on Friday. They have gained about 51% so far this year.