Meta's got a Twitter alternative in the works and it can't come soon enough

Social app icons on a phone screen
iPhone 13 kan få nya funktioner. (Image credit: dole777 / Unsplash)

Early last month, reports began to pop up that Meta was eyeing the chaos happening on Elon Musk’s Twitter and saw an opportunity to potentially create its own Meta replacement - and hopefully scoop up any Twitter outcasts looking for a new, less unstable home.

In a chat with Platformer in early March, Meta confirmed that it is "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."

It's no surprise that it's Twitter we're talking about here.

The project was initially codenamed ‘P92’ and seems to be moving ahead under a new name. Meta’s ‘Barcelona’ is slowly in the works as a text-based social media app.  

We’re exploring a standalone decentralized social network for sharing text updates

Meta via Platformer

App researcher Allesandro Paluzzi took to Twitter to share images of Barcelona, and said the app is being pitched as ‘Instagram for your thoughts’, which, again… is just Twitter.

Obviously, everything is still in the initial stages, but the concept seems pretty basic: text-based posts that aim to focus on posting and private messaging in an expanded format. A lot of people (myself included) communicate solely through Instagram DMs, so it would make sense for Meta to take this opportunity to expand that side of the app. 

Barcelona will allow users to follow each other and stay on top of their text updates. Social Media Today has put together a handy list of all the things we know about the app so far, and it sounds incredibly Twitter-esque. The new app will use your Instagram credentials to log in and use your current Instagram ID as your username in the app.

The maximum length of Barcelona posts will be about 500 characters, and with the continuous turmoil going on with Twitter as it stands right now, Meta is likely prioritizing the project.

Free me

As I said, I use Instagram to communicate with most if not all of my friends, and having a dedicated space to post ‘text updates’ born right out of the app we’ve all navigated and known for users is a brilliant idea. There is no new format to learn, no extensive setup, nor an unfamiliar user interface. It’ll just be an extension, and I think that will drive users to the app.

The current name of the app is a little odd, and I’m not sure what people would call the Barcelona equivalent of Tweets (Barcys? B’s? Lonas?) but I think young people especially would flock to the new app. Twitter has become a turbulent place to be, crammed with promoted tweets and that garbage ‘For You’ section, and a lot of young people will definitely appreciate only being connected to the people they already know and follow. 

I embrace any and all alternatives to the bird app, as it feels almost like I’m trapped. A lot of my work stuff is on there, along with companies and celebrities I follow, so I feel like I can’t really leave. But with the possibility of Barcelona, I feel like I can escape that hell site and actually enjoy scrolling through my feed.

Muskaan Saxena
Computing Staff Writer

Muskaan is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing writer. She has always been a passionate writer and has had her creative work published in several literary journals and magazines. Her debut into the writing world was a poem published in The Times of Zambia, on the subject of sunflowers and the insignificance of human existence in comparison. Growing up in Zambia, Muskaan was fascinated with technology, especially computers, and she's joined TechRadar to write about the latest GPUs, laptops and recently anything AI related. If you've got questions, moral concerns or just an interest in anything ChatGPT or general AI, you're in the right place. Muskaan also somehow managed to install a game on her work MacBook's Touch Bar, without the IT department finding out (yet).