Meta, Facebook’s parent company, has revealed new details about its next project, which aims to compete with Twitter. Codenamed “Barcelona,” the initiative aims to offer a text-based alternative to Meta’s popular Instagram platform.
While the announcement has generated some interest, one wonders whether Barcelona will be able to stand out in a market saturated with similar options, or whether it will simply be yet another attempt by Meta to copy the success of other companies, as it has done in the past with TikTok and Snapchat.
An uncertain and familiar bet
The news that Meta is developing a social network to rival Twitter has generated some distrust among technology experts.
Over the years, Meta has been known for imitating successful concepts from other platforms and apps, adding its own features to them, and turning them into popular products under its own brand.
Barcelona clearly follows this trend, as it relies heavily on Twitter’s infrastructure and popularity. This strategy raises questions about Barcelona’s authenticity and originality and whether it can really offer users a unique and valuable experience.
#Instagram is working on a new app called "Barcelona" 👀
I wonder if it is the codename for their new text-based social network to compete with #Twitter pic.twitter.com/q8LJTc1JG7
— Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a) March 28, 2023
Barcelona up close
Although the final name of the new app is not yet known, internally it is known as Barcelona or P92, as we have known for weeks According to leaks, users will be able to access the app using their Instagram usernames and passwords.
In addition, the app will transfer profile information, including followers, usernames, bio, and verification, from the main Instagram platform.
The Barcelona interface features a feed that combines elements of Instagram and Twitter. Users will be able to post text messages of up to 500 characters and attach links, photos, and videos.
The app is also expected to offer robust moderation controls out of the box, allowing users to control who can reply and mention their account. Blocked accounts on Instagram will also be moved to the new app.
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? Maybe.
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
A touch of decentralization
Perhaps the most significant aspect of Barcelona is its commitment to decentralization. Meta intends to make the app compatible with other platforms, such as Mastodon, through ActivityPub technology.
This would allow users of other apps to search, follow and interact with Barcelona profiles and content, whether users have a public or private profile, and approve followers.
But wait… Barcelona?
Yes, such an original and out-of-the-ordinary name leaves us speechless. Let’s hope it’s just an internal name and not the final one when the app is launched.
What better way to compete with Twitter than naming your app after a famous Spanish city?
Perhaps Meta has decided that Barcelona, known for its vibrant culture and architectural beauty, will be the muse of its new creation: who needs exciting and catchy names when you can opt for the charm of a cosmopolitan city, and isn’t Meta known for its overflowing originality?
In any case… as Twitter continues to struggle and many users are looking for alternatives to share short updates, Barcelona could offer an interesting option.
However, given that Meta is used to copying and adapting successful ideas from other companies, some caution is warranted as to how much innovation Barcelona could bring to the social networking landscape.
While it is too early to make definitive statements, users and technology experts will be watching Barcelona’s launch closely to assess its ability to deliver an authentic and valuable user experience in an increasingly saturated market.
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