“Project Barcelona”: what we know about the Twitter clone being prepared by Meta, the parent company of Facebook

Instagram or Twitter, choose no more! The Californian giant Meta is seriously working on an equivalent of the social network bought by Elon Musk and entered since in a period of strong turbulence. Imagined by the Instagram teams, this competitor would complete its portfolio of platforms (Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc.) with publications in a content-enriched text format.

According to the Bloomberg agency, this new social network would appear this summer and would already be in the testing phase with celebrities and influencers with large audiences. Quoted by the specialized media The Vergethe professor of digital marketing at UCLA, Lisa Haberman, had access to a working document.

Taken from an internal presentation, it details the ambition and forms of this project, currently called “Barcelona” or “P92”. These indiscretions shed light on the strategy of the leaders of Meta already thrown into a battle against TikTok and his short videos.

Easy transfer… from Instagram

No need to create a new account, Instagram users will be able to login with their current account and pword. To avoid any friction, their biography, their verified account status and especially their “followers” ​​will be automatically transferred to the new platform.

“It makes things more fluid to rebuild a community and launch a new application with this kind of gateway is also an opportunity to keep users captive in the ecosystem of Meta in order to continue to display targeted advertising to them and collect their data. “, analyzes Stéphanie Laporte, director of the Social Networks program at the INSEEC business school..

A publication thread will be displayed with posts limited to 500 characters supplemented by links, photos or short videos. According to the screenshot that leaked, the platform looks like a perfect fusion between Instagram and Twitter.

“It is similar in form and substance more to an embly than to the creation of a social network, it is a pity that they do not surprise us with new functionalities”, deplores Jean Cattan, co-author, with Serge Abiteboul, from the book “We are social networks”. “This reinforces the impression of a closed market where a few players are content to steal features and where the crucible for original ideas is broken,” he notes.

Based on a (somewhat blurry) example I got, Meta’s new app looks a lot like Twitter.

So, could this take over all the Twitter screenshots we’ve been seeing on the Feed lately? Perhaps.

It’s impossible to predict how audiences will respond but this could be an alternative. pic.twitter.com/xgQa1kUjCl

— Lia Haberman (@liahaberman) May 19, 2023

To differentiate itself and no doubt reure advertisers, Instagram nevertheless weighs its moderation capabilities while Elon Musk decided to lay off almost all the teams responsible for applying the rules to avoid racist or conspiratorial excesses. Logically, accounts blocked on Instagram will also be blocked on the first social network created entirely by Meta… since Facebook.

“The timing is right”

The Menlo Park giant is also creating a rare openness by integrating, for example, compatibility with the independent social network Mastodon. “Users of other apps will be able to find, follow and interact with your profile and content if the account is public or if you are in private mode to accept them as followers “says the leaked document.

Will this new social find its audience? “The timing is good and they can surf on the current disenchantment of Twitter users linked to the change of algorithm where the application is no longer recognized”, judges Stéphanie Laporte. “But there have already been attempts by Meta to launch separate applications which have not been very successful,” recalls the expert.

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